Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, "is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night" and has triggered a hurricane watch for all of North Carolina and part of SC, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Coastal North Carolina felt the first bite of Hurricane Florence on Thursday as winds began to rise, a prelude to the slow-moving tempest that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the US southeast. By Monday, it was evident that the worst-case-scenario was becoming reality, as Florence exploded in strength from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 4 storm with winds in excess of 130 miles per hour.
CoreLogic's analysis of the path and intensity of the storm indicates that a wide swath communities along the East Coast, ranging from Charleston, South Carolina to Virginia Beach, Virginia, are vulnerable.
Hurricane Florence has slightly increased in speed as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast.
The centre of the titanic storm is expected meander Thursday, Friday and Saturday over a stretch of coastline saturated by rising seas, inundating several states and triggering life-threatening floods.
From the livestock industry, one environmental impact from the storm could be from the lagoons, or lined earthen pits, that hold treated manure. A hurricane warning was posted for most of the Carolina coast north to the Virginia border. As much as 10 to 20 inches (250-500mm) of rain is forecast from the Carolinas into Virginia as the storm stalls inland. The biggest risks from Hurricane Florence may not come from wind, but from the associated rainfall. "Hurricane-force winds have expanded outward and now extend up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center".
On the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale Florence is a Category 4, meaning it is capable of causing "catastrophic damage".
In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres, Florence could dump 38-64cm of rain, with up to 90cm in some spots, forecasters said.
Fox News meteorologist Adam Klotz said the storm surge could be up to a foot in areas closest to the eye of the storm.
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The hurricane center is continuing to forecast very risky storm surge and rip currents kicked up by the storm for the entire N.C. coast.
"If we get more than 25 inches of rain, then we'll start to be concerned", he said.
Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time.
In North Carolina, the Tar Heels were set to play their first home game in Chapel Hill after two road losses. Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were ordered closed from Tuesday.
Monday night President Trump tweeted about the storm, asking those along the coast to be careful and promising the support of the federal government. He declared states of emergency for North and SC, which frees up help from federal agencies. "It's still a very powerful, major storm that we have to take seriously".
"Due to potential emergency conditions that appear likely due to Hurricane Florence, South Carolina will make temporary exceptions to the regulations governing the importation and exportation of animals coming into and leaving South Carolina", Parr said.
Florence will unload up to 40 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina.
Rain measured in feet is "looking likely", he said.