Hurricane Florence: Storm force winds for North Carolina within hours

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Florence, for her part, shares similarities with Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Houston on August 25 of 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane and dumped record-setting amounts of rain.

After appearing headed toward the North Carolina-Virginia border at one point, Florence shifted south and is now taking aim at the Carolinas.

Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever increasing accuracy where it will hit and who will get walloped.

Florence is about 25 miles (45 km) north-east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

The storm is moving toward the northwest at 17 miles per hour (28 kph), the NHC said. Wilmington is expected to get battered before the storm drifts south.

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The cone of probability for Hurricane Florence as of 11:00 p.m. EDT, Sept. 12, 2018.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the NWS report said. "Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances".

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.

Yes, because it's bringing a voluminous amount of rain, and by lingering it creates worse flooding. The agency is in constant contact with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

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Steering currents - around clear-weather high-pressure systems and stormy low-pressure systems - redirect hurricanes, with the clear-weather systems acting as walls that storms have to go around.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Why is it getting bigger?

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air. The more it stalls, the more it rains. That's about half the amount Hurricane Harvey - the largest rainfall event in US history - dropped on the greater Houston area previous year. The storm will likely damage homes and businesses, kill crops, drown livestock, wash away cars and suspend much of the area's economic activity. In Hurricane Sandy in 2012, storm surge-induced flooding measured as high as 9 feet above ground in parts of NY and New Jersey, leading to billions of dollars in damages.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

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Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, calculates that Florence will deduct about $200 million of output a day from North Carolina's $550 billion-a-year economy until business returns to something close to normal.

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