Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD

In this NASA handout image taken by Astronaut Ricky Arnold Hurricane Florence gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean as it moves west seen from the International Space Station

Up to 35 inches of rain could fall through early next week over parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.

More than a thousand flights have been canceled in advance of Hurricane Florence's arrival in the Carolinas, and operations at airports along the coast have been suspended as the region braces for impact. Scientists have also been getting better at making connections between the amount of rainfall dumped during a hurricane with human-induced climate change. More people die in the flooding and the storm surge than the winds.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm. The power remained on despite gusty winds.

Though Florence has weakened slightly, it's still a very unsafe storm, and a life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected.

However, a Cat 2 storm's wind speed is "extremely unsafe", according to the National Hurricane Center, capable of ripping trees from the ground, wreaking major roof damage on homes and causing power outages that may last weeks and affect three million households.

Governor of southeastern US state Georgia, Nathan Deal, also declared on Wednesday a state of emergency for the state's all 159 counties after the National Hurricane Center said the storm will turn southwards after reaching North Carolina late Thursday and early Friday. Some of the storm's wind and rain could even creep into eastern Georgia.

As of 10am Thursday (local time), Florence's top winds were 177km/h, and it was marching northwest at16km/h, about 257km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 329km east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

From Thursday night through Sunday morning, CNN reported that Florence would travel only 150 miles, or slower than the average walking pace of 2-3 mph. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area. Additionally, tornadoes could arise in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

Like a bulldozer, the storm's winds and forward motion will push a tremendous amount of water onshore when it makes landfall.

If you're in the path of this storm, get out of it. Pack your stuff into the attic and your auto, grab the preferred kids, pets, and spouse, and head inland.

NHC noted s Storm Surge Warning is in effect for South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina and for the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Cape Fear Wine and Beer was due to close its doors when the storm hits Wilmington, a picturesque town just in from the coast. By late Wednesday, authorities in North Carolina reported almost 7,000 evacuees staying in 71 emergency shelters throughout the state.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than 1 million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

And if that isn't enough, Subtropical Storm Joyce formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, but it's not expected to hit the U.S. The system is expected to drift to the southwest in the coming days. When and where it will make landfall is unclear. In reality, Florence was downgraded by the National Weather Service from a category 3 to a category 2 storm. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge.

"Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage".

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.

Any "flooding will be worse around high tide, and a slow-moving storm will stick around for at least one tide cycle", explained McNoldy.

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