FLORENCE: Hurricane closes in on North Carolina

Tropical Weather Wild Horses

During that time 70 to 110mph winds are expected.

In Wilmington, resident Michael Wilson fortified his home against the wind and rain, and anxious. Our job today is to get any kind of clues about where the storms is going - the fine tuning just before landfall.

The hurricane centre is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday with winds of around 130 km/h before landfall, but with rainfall in the 50 to 75 centimetre range and almost four metres of storm surge. Hurricane-force winds were blowing 130 km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 315km from the eye. These unforgiving winds will damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power.

Hurricane Florence weakened from a Category 4 down to a Category 2 storm Wednesday night but the massive system is still considered extremely risky and life threatening.

Calling the storm surge prediction "incredible", Graham said that because Florence will likely nudge its way onto the coast, giving its hurricane winds lots of time to force water inland, he wouldn't be surprised "to see storm surge a mile, a mile and a half inland - maybe even 2 miles or more, in some cases".

The storm has pretty much followed the forecast track through now, but the issue will be Thursday or Friday as it nears the coast and the steering currents collapse.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then slog its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses and farm fields.

After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.

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

The Category 2 storm is set to hit the U.S. East Coast with winds of up to 215 km/h.

Other bars in North Carolina stayed open on Wednesday night (amid warnings to evacuate) and advertised local beer, pizza and vodka, the Daily Mail reported. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area.

"As it tracks towards the United Kingdom it will degrade - it will become an ex-tropical storm". Flash flooding and possible tornadoes are expected in Virginia and eastern North Carolina.

"It's still going to be the same result with the amount of water that's being pushed on shore", he explained. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

It is important to recognize that while attention will be focused on coastal impacts from Florence, inland flooding will remain a problem for some areas well into next week.

Author of "North Carolina's Hurricane History" Jay Barnes speaks out on lessons learned from past storms on 'Fox & Friends'.

The study of how hurricanes are worsening, especially when it comes to rainfall, is important for coastal communities and cities that continue to be highly unprepared.

And while the millions affected finalize their emergency plans, try to, um, shoot the weather into submission (please don't do this), and hopefully take the official advice to get the hell out of its path, even more have been watching Florence's trajectory and forecast via online tracker sites and apps.

"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned.

As the trough moves east, it will disrupt the winds that steer the hurricane, Stewart said.

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