The flooding will depend whether Florence slows down and lingers over coastal areas as it moves inland, Salna says.
Watches in effect Tuesday forecast a storm surge of up to 12 feet at high tide from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.
The storm is expected to make landfall between North and SC, with Mr Kottlowski predicting that it will cause "devastation" when it does hit land. Hurricane-strength winds have been expanding to a range of 40 miles from the eye of the storm.Information gathered on Tuesday by a hurricane-hunting aircraft suggests it will intensify again as it nears the coast, approaching the 157mph threshold for a worst-case category 5 scenario.
On its current track, Florence is expected to slam South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia the hardest.
About halfway between Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Helene is the small but risky Tropical Storm Isaac, which was downgraded from hurricane status early this morning (Sept. 11). Then, the strong winds, which may be higher than the other hurricanes that we have recently experienced.
Tropical storm force winds (39 mph+) and the first outer rain bands will arrive along the North Carolina coast Thursday morning.
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- Residents and visitors on South Carolina's coast are ordered to evacuate beginning at noon on Tuesday.
"Also, most storms coming into the Carolinas tend to move northward, and this storm looks like it's going to stall over the region and potentially bring tremendous, life-threatening flooding".
Streams of cars clogged roads leading away from the coast of North and SC on Tuesday as residents began fleeing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm barreling towards the eastern U.S. states.
Over the last 24 hours, Gov. Roy Cooper and Gov. Henry McMaster declared states of emergency for their respective states ahead of Florence. The biggest risks from Hurricane Florence may not come from wind, but from the associated rainfall.
To whip up a monstrous storm like the one chugging for the Carolinas you need a handful of ingredients - and Florence has them all. This could lead to massive flooding in many of North Carolina's inlets.
Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.
Storm surge is also a major concern. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. Hurricane force winds start at 74 miles per hour.