Hurricane Florence likely to track over South Carolina, Cause Rain in Triad

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.

Expected to make landfall by Friday, the impact of the storm will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes. It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.

Florence, a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mile-per-hour winds, was expected to reach the coast of the Carolinas Thursday or Friday, but the most recent National Hurricane Center forecasts show the storm taking a sharp southward turn toward Georgia after landfall.

As Hurricane Florence continues barreling toward the Carolinas, NASA has posted a remarkable video of the storm with winds approaching 130 miles per hour.

We'll keep you updated on this system in the coming days.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds now extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

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A tropical storm watch is in effect for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort. The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

Greg Postel, hurricane and storm specialist for The Weather Channel.

The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.

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