Hurricane Florence was 145 miles from the North Carolina coast as of 11 a.m. Thursday. According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical-storm-force winds have reached North Carolina, and dangerous weather will lash the east coast for days. 10 million people are under some kind of warning.
- Hurricane Florence is edging toward the US East Coast with sustained wind speeds of 105 mph.
- Rain and tropical storm-force winds have already hit North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
- The storm's center is due to hit the Carolinas on Thursday night and Friday. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the hurricane was 145 miles from shore.
- The NHS warned of "catastrophic" flash flooding from rainfall totals as high 40 inches and a deadly storm surge as high as 13 feet.
- The winds have slowed to Category-2 levels, but the storm remains powerful and deadly.
Hurricane Florence has already begun dumping rain on the east coast of the US, with its full force due to arrive on Thursday night and Friday.
Tropical storm-force winds and bands of rain are already affecting parts of North Carolina, according to the National Weather Center, which updated its assessment at 11 a.m. Thursday.
The latest track of the storm suggests that its center will strike close to the North Carolina-South Carolina border on Thursday night and on Friday. It will then move slowly across South Carolina, dumping potentially record-breaking levels of rain.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the storm was 145 miles from the North Carolina shore.
Footage shared by meteorologists in the area show the rain and high winds being created by the storm's outer bands:
The hurricane is predicted to bring up to 40 inches of rain and 13 feet of storm surge, levels deemed "catastrophic" by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Footage shared on social media showed already-dangerous conditions in North Carolina on Thursday:
Here is what the storm looked like from a satellite on Thursday morning:
Hurricane Florence's wind speeds had slowed to 105 mph as of 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, making Florence a Category-2 hurricane. The National Weather Service warned that the storm is no less dangerous for this dip in intensity, as most of the danger will come from the rain and floods.
The storm is increasing in size, and the dangerous levels of rainfall and storm surge predicted have not changed, the National Weather Service warned.
About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.
Together, this means that 10.15 million people are under some kind of extreme weather warning.
A "hurricane warning" means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the area within the next 12 to 24 hours. A "hurricane watch" means that hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours.
The storm is predicted to slow down considerably as it reaches the coast, coming close to a standstill and dumping huge amounts of rain alongside a powerful storm surge — sea water forced inland by the hurricane's winds.
The National Hurricane Center also warns that hurricane-force winds extend outward by up to 80 miles (130 km) from Hurricane Florence's center and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles (315 km) out from its center.
The hurricane's predicted path has moved southwards and could bring dangerous conditions to Georgia, where Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency.
Georgia joins North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, which were already working on emergency plans.
Florence's storm surge — seawater forced inland by the power of the storm — could prove "life-threatening" and lead to "catastrophic" flash flooding far inland, the NHC warned.
The below animation, shared by the meteorologist Jeff Ranieri, shows the danger posed by storm surge. In this simulation, 12 feet of extra water is enough to almost submerge a house.
The National Weather Service branch in Wilmington, North Carolina, said on Tuesday that Hurricane Florence was likely to be "the storm of a lifetime" for the area.
"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the NHC said.
The hurricane is expected to produce "heavy and excessive rainfall," according to the NHC, which could lead to "significant" river flooding even far from coastal areas.
The GIF below visualizes a possible trajectory for the hurricane, based on satellite data. The darker colors identify more intense parts of the storm.
Winds in US coastal areas are expected to reach tropical-storm strength on Thursday, with the NHC urging that "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
Mandatory evacuation orders are in place in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
About 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate their homes. Millions of others have been stockpiling supplies such as gas cans, generators, plywood, and sand bags, according to the Associated Press.
In a Tweet on Thursday, President Donald Trump said the country is "completely ready" for the hurricane.
Two other storms, Isaac and Helene, are also spinning in the Atlantic Ocean.
Source: Pluse ng