UNC Storm Surge Expert Warns Of Potentially 'Catastrophic' Florence

Florence strengthens to Category 4, takes aim at Carolinas

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.

A man walks a flooded street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rain to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions.

Hurricane-force winds are extending up to 65 kilometres from the storm's centre, while tropical-storm-force winds are blowing out at up to 240 kilometres.

North Carolina State postponed its home game against West Virginia University in Raleigh, North Carolina, adding that tickets will remain valid if the schools are able to reschedule the contest for later in the season.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect Tuesday in three US states as forecasters and officials urge people to get ready for devastating winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Florence. "It's big and it's vicious".

Vehicles travel westbound on Interstate 26 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence near Orangeburg, South Carolina, U.S., September 11, 2018.

"It's an extremely risky, life-threatening, historic hurricane". That means, she said, that the Wilmington region is going to be affected by what she said is going to be a major hurricane that could reach category 4 strength, which means maximum sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.

"It's too early at this point to be precise with how these impacts are going to stack up", he said, "but there is a huge potential someone is going to sustain devastating impacts as a result of this storm".

It's not just North Carolina that is "taking Hurricane Florence seriously", either, in SC and Virginia residents have also declared states of emergency following the updates on the storm.

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The powerful storm is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday, and almost 1.5 million people are under mandatory evacuation orders in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

A shop owner boards up his Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, building.

In North Carolina, evacuations have been ordered in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks and Hatteras, a popular vacation spot, as well as other coastal counties, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. This could lead to massive flooding in many of North Carolina's inlets.

Anything special about Hurricane Florence?

Gusty winds will also be a possibility, which could result in power outages.

Rainfall could be up to 20in (50cm) in some areas.

The worst damage will occur to the north of where the hurricane makes landfall.

Residents of affected areas have been flocking to stores to stock up on essentials. The map below shows the greatest impacts in North Carolina and along the eastern coastline, as far south as Charleston and as far north as New Jersey.

Some petrol stations were running dry as customers filled up.

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