Charlotte, Raleigh could see flooding from Hurricane Florence

This Sept. 10 2018 GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence as it threatens the U.S. East Coast. As mandatory evacuations begin for parts of several East Coast states millions of Americans have been preparing for what could

This Sept. 10 2018 GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence as it threatens the U.S. East Coast. As mandatory evacuations begin for parts of several East Coast states millions of Americans have been preparing for what could

The severity of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is intensifying and triggering hurricane warnings along the coasts of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 5 a.m. Wednesday update.

If it remains at Category 4, Florence would be one the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the continental US this far north.

Florence, a Category 4 hurricane packing 130 miles per hour winds, is churning ominously with its sights set on the Carolinas. More than one million people living along the Carolina-Virginia coast are under mandatory evacuation orders.

As one of the nation's foremost experts on storm surge, he warned that if Florence hits at high tide, it could pose serious risks to property and life for any low-lying areas along the coast as well as along any inlets.

"A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or risky", the warning states. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into SC. As much as 10 to 20 inches (250-500mm) of rain is forecast from the Carolinas into Virginia as the storm stalls inland. "We go through a lot of these hurricane scares throughout the years", Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

NHC forecasts showed the effects of Florence would be widely felt, with tropical storm-force winds extending almost 300 miles across three states. Sustained winds were 130 miles per hour (215 kph) Tuesday morning, but it remains a Category 4 storm and is expected to intensify to near Category 5 status as it slows over very warm coastal waters.

High winds and heavy rains will also down trees and bring other destruction to areas in its path, the hurricane center said.

A ideal storm of unfortunate circumstances means Florence could deal a devastating blow to the Southeast. Further strengthening is forecast and it is expected to be a large and powerful hurricane as it nears the East Coast.

"The governor said that North Carolina is the bull's eye of this hurricane", Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, said in an interview.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 480km ahead of its eye, and so wet that a swath of states from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged. More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate from the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

Residents prepared by boarding up their homes and stripping grocery stores bare of food, water and supplies.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC, facilitating federal help, and cancelled campaign events Thursday and Friday, citing the storm. The school said the decision came after discussions with West Virginia, the Atlantic Coast Conference and emergency management officials. The potential area of impact includes a wide swath of the eastern coastline, with the greatest impacts anticipated in SC and North Carolina. Farmers will be using the next several days to prepare for the storm, he said.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculates that Hurricane Florence could dump about 18 trillion gallons of rain in seven days over the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

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