ISS images show massive Hurricane Florence from 400 km up

"Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the center of the storm due to storm surge as high as 9 to 13 feet". It is forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday Friday.

But the real threat from Florence isn't from wind, it's from water, with the National Hurricane Center warning of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing North Carolina would see the equivalent of up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period. Sand dunes gone storm surge 4' into house knocking down walls first floor.

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

The hurricane's sheer size means it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day, according to weather forecasters.

"The people of North Carolina need to understand that Matthew was a Category 1 hurricane when it finally made landfall in the Carolinas, and it caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage", US Sen.

- The number of NC residents without power is now over 150,000, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

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Hurricane Florence is coming.

Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometres).

According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the US mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians". Two amphibious Navy ships are on standby to respond and provide disaster relief after Florence moves through.

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.

Rescue helicopters and trucks that can navigate floodwaters are also standing by.

Residents of the Carolinas and neighboring states should consult local authorities for any evacuation orders and other preparation guidelines.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.

"We'll handle it. We're ready".

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