Hurricane Florence Zeroes In On Carolinas, Bringing 130 MPH Winds

'This is a big storm': Results could be catastrophic

A National Weather Service forecaster in Wilmington, North Carolina, said: 'This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast.

The storm, which is building up over the Atlantic, is due to make landfall in either North or SC within the next few days, and is expected to be the worst storm to hit the area in 30 years.

The slow-moving storm, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, is expected.

The lingering storm could bring days of heavy rains, which could spark intense floods from SC to Virginia.

A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow).

Both of the Carolinas and Virginia ordered mandatory evacuations for some of their residents starting at noon Tuesday and over a million people are expected to flee. But the change was probably temporary and didn't do anything to lessen the danger, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "So this is not just going to be a coastal threat".

Tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles (280 kilometres) from Florence's centre, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometres).

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Even though the storm has began to weaken, Florence is still forecast to be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it nears the USA south-east coast late on Thursday and Friday. Forecasts predict as much as 20 inches of rain in some places but one computer model warned there could be up to 45 inches, almost four feet.

Power in some areas is likely to be out for several days, and storm surge is expected to flood widespread areas, he said, including inland regions of the state. Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas.

Florence is now churning through the Atlantic, only a few hundred miles off the coast of Wilmington, N.C.

Additionally, there will be damaging winds that could top 100 miles per hour, isolated tornadoes, and "devastating" storm surge.

However some residents have chose to board up their homes and ride out the storm.

In Charleston, South Carolina, some residents were making preparations to leave Tuesday while others planned to ride out the storm. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well. In South Carolina, close to the Georgia line, Beaufort County emergency chief Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case. "It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "Everyone was sold out", she said. The researchers continuously track the hurricane as it makes landfall to collect data on the storm's speed, intensity and structure.

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