Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

David Goldman  AP

The images, captured from249 miles above the storm, captured Florence as it draws close to North Carolina's coast. A frankly terrifying reminder, at that. "The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

It's not all for show, either. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact-and we have that".

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., September 13, 2018.

"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Florence was expected to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday, and forecasters said its size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

On Friday, the storm's center will hug the coast of southeast North Carolina, where the most severe effects are expected.

Being such a small number, first responders have made clear to them the situation when the storm makes its expected complete landfall by 8 a.m. Friday morning.

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 U.S. military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.

"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence.

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Experts are warning people that the most serious threat posed by Florence might just be the massive amount of water it is expected to leave in its wake, from the storm surge that could exceed 13 feet in some areas to a deluge of rainfall that may hit 40 inches in certain pockets.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

Seventy people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground. GOES-East is one many satellites in orbit tracking the hurricane as it approaches the Carolinas.

With winds picking up along the coastline earlier Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns across the Carolinas are largely empty after 1.7 million people in three states were told to clear out.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"We have a mental health person, we have social workers, we have in some cases, we have law enforcement in the building", said volunteer John Edwards, who was volunteering at the American Red Cross shelter in Greensboro Thursday.

"On a scale of one to 10, I'm probably a seven in terms of worry, she said".

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