Hurricane Florence: Mapping the thousands of animal waste lagoons, nuclear sites threatened

"The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".

The storm remained a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour.

"Your time is running out", Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said midmorning Thursday.

A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland as local governor Roy Cooper urged locals to flee the "monster" storm - and nuclear power plants prepare to shut down.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.

In the meantime, "treat the inland flooding just as seriously as you would the storm surge", said Clark.

Robinson noted that some of the forecasts are expecting rainfall of 800 to 1000 mm over a 30-hour period.

Soren Rundquist, Environmental Working Group's director of spatial analysis, said if the rainfall projections hold up, the flood waters will simply take what was sprayed on the fields with them, along with what spills out of the pits. Florence's slow movement means we could see days on end of high tides, hampering rescue efforts and increasing the risk of home being washed away. "On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday", the briefing said. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm.

He added: 'The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen.

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"When you have a swine lagoon breech, it is going to have catastrophic impact on the river", Burdette said.

Those surges alone are projected to cause inland flooding of more than 9 feet in cities like New Bern, North Carolina, even without the expected 15 to 20 inches of rain.

That's because the weather systems that usually push and pull a storm are disappearing as Florence nears land around the border between North and SC.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports. Overall, the storm is 400 miles wide.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. Additionally, tornadoes could arise in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore. The National Hurricane Center says it's now expected to hit Wilmington and then veer west, taking it south of Charlotte. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster did not mince words on Thursday, delivering a dire message mainly to those coastal residents who have chosen to remain in their homes despite repeated warnings to leave as Hurricane Florence creeps toward the coast.

"Think of it like a marathon", said Mark Robinson, from The Weather Network, also in Wilmington with Kourounis.

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