US East Coast braces for "life-threatening" Hurricane Florence

A woman holding a child sleeps at Southeast Raleigh High School in Raleigh N.C. on Wednesday after being evacuated from her home ahead of Hurricane Florence

A woman holding a child sleeps at Southeast Raleigh High School in Raleigh N.C. on Wednesday after being evacuated from her home ahead of Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Florence, a risky Category 2 storm, continues on its path toward the East Coast, surf cameras are showing the live impact the storm is having on the Carolinas. Sustained winds remained at 90 miles per hour, but the storm - which was never expected to threaten the USA coast - should begin to weaken over the next day and become a tropical storm on Thursday, forecasters said in an 11 a.m. advisory.

Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding. "That means the more trees that could fall, the more power outages", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents not to "underestimate" the storm.

Duke Energy warned that Florence could cut off power to anywhere from 1 million to 3 million customers in North and SC, potentially leaving them without electricity for several weeks, said spokeswoman Grace Rountree.

The Portuguese weather service said that wind gusts of up to 74 mph are possible by the weekend in the Azores, an island chain about 850 miles west of Portugal.

Hurricane Florence's sustained wind speeds have lessened slightly to 105 miles per hour, but the storm is already bringing surges and tropical storm winds to the North Carolina shore, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. briefing.

But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.

Waves crash underneath the Oceana Pier as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence begin to affect the coast on Thursday in Atlantic Beach N.C. Coastal cities in North Carolina South Carolina and Virginia are under evacuation orders as the Category 2 hurri
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The full impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.

Two big fuel pipelines stand in the hurricane's path, but analysts say they think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.

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.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. That's on top of the flooding, flying debris, and the other immediate storm-related events that can claim countless lives.

Panovich: Right now it looks like landfall is going to occur sometime early Friday morning between, I would say, 4 a.m. and probably about 8 a.m., but it might actually never make it all the way in. From southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC - expect rainfall amounts of 20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. North Carolina alone could get from 20 to 30 inches, with isolated spots possibly receiving 40 inches.

The Outer Banks Hospital expects to keep its doors open for anyone who needs emergency care during the hurricane, McCammon reports. I believe that was a Category 1 storm when it hit Charlotte.

Another disturbance is swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also spinning in the Atlantic are Tropical Storms Helene and Isaac and Subtropical Storm Joyce, while Tropical Depression Olivia and Super Typhoon Mangkhut are making waves in the Pacific. The NHC is encouraging officials in northeastern Mexico, Texas and Louisiana to monitor its progress.


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