Storm surge could be Hurricane Florence's deadliest, most destructive threat

Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Tuesday as it passes between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The category 4 hurricane is located about 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 km per hour), it said.

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).

They don't retire the name of every hurricane - and there's already a buzz that Florence will join the likes of Hazel (1954), Hugo (1989), Fran (1996) and Isabel (2003), the four most destructive hurricanes to strike the southeastern United States.

The first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) were forecast to hit the coast on Thursday.

Al Brookins poses with his shirt that lists some of the previoius hurricanes he has lived through before the arrival of Hurricane Florence September 12, 2018 in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

"In most hurricanes, we worry about our line and equipment being blown down to the ground", said Pettit.

The waves will meet resistance as Florence approaches landfall, but storm surges up to 13 feet are expected in some areas of North Carolina, according to the weather service.

"It's a very risky storm", Federal Emergency Management Authority administrator Jeff Byard said.

As of 11pm local time (4am BST), the storm was centred 280 miles south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving north-west at 17 mph.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall". The storm is expected to slow down, stall and then perhaps wander just off the Carolina shore as it nears the coast Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A state of emergency has been declared in 5 states including North and SC, as well as the capital, Washington D.C.

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

"This is probably the only exercise I get this week", she said.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

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