Millions on US East Coast brace for 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Florence

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

Before it pummels the USA coastline, Florence could become close to a Category 5 storm - meaning winds could approach 157 miles per hour.

These alerts are usually issued about 48 hours before storms are set to touch down, when the arrival of tropical force winds would make any last-minute preparation hard.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed that a storm surge is when there is a danger of "life-threatening inundation" from water moving inland from the coastline. He said there will be more of a wind issue with Florence compared to Matthew, but rainfall could be around the same if not more. Governors of those states have already declared states of emergency, as have the governors of Virginia and Maryland.

The latest GFS Model shows the storm approaching North Carolina, covering the state in precipitation over a fairly short amount of time.

Some 38cm (15in) to 64cm (25in) of rain is forecast in some areas - with up to one metre (40in) at the centre of the storm.

Forecasters have adjusted Hurricane Florence's projected path, saying that after it makes landfall, it is likely to take a more southerly route than expected.

North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week. In Myrtle Beach, S.C., and nearby areas, the surge could hit 6-9 feet.

On Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Jim Lebrun said the Ware County School System was working with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to monitor Hurricane Florence's track and its potential effect on the area. "The wind literally piles up the ocean water and pushes it on the land". Florence is now heading for ocean water with surface temperatures of around 85 degrees, meaning it will likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

Satellite images show the storm has maintained a distinct eye and is well organized.

Thankfully if they do, it's highly unlikely that the winds will be hurricane strength. Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas.

The city says it will get to as much trash as it can before services end later Wednesday. Florence is expected to also be a rainmaker, with totals of 35 inches possible in some areas.

The hurricane is expected to dump heavy rain throughout the region and FEMA officials said it's not just a coastal problem. This would put us in a swath of maybe up to 4-8 inches of rain from Friday night to early Monday evening and could linger beyond that as the remnants cast off to our west.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the hurricane center says.

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