Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm, could stall upon reaching the Carolina coast and make a slight shift south toward SC once it makes landfall, becoming "a major flooding event", according to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean.
The National Hurricane Center says Florence is now lashing the North Carolina coast with hurricane -force winds and a life-threatening storm surge. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.
The National Weather Service said 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 Charleston area now is expected to see at least 1-2 inches of rain over the next several days".
Hurricane Florence churned across the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday packing winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kph) as an emergency management official warned the monster storm would deliver a "Mike Tyson punch" to the Carolina coast.
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They were the first known deaths attributed to Tropical Storm Florence, which was a Category 1 hurricane when it struck the city. Gradual weakening is expected throughout the day Friday, with significant weakening predicted over the weekend.
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According to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, current forecast puts Florence stalling upon reaching the Carolina coast before making a slight shift south and barreling down SC.
"The National Hurricane Center forecasts additional strengthening for Florence before it reaches the coastline of North Carolina and SC early Friday, Sept. 14", NASA wrote in the description of the video.
The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.
Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?
Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.
Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.