Hurricane Florence's winds and rain begin lashing Carolinas

Hurricane Florence is expected to grow in intensity

Hurricane Florence is expected to grow in intensity President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in the three states

Florence, now a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (209 km/h), was previously expected to travel north, up the North Carolina coast, after making landfall, according to the statement.

It was located about 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles (405 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving to the northwest at 15 mph.

The storm is expected to be just offshore by Friday and is now a Category 3 storm with 125mph top sustained winds. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (815 km)".

NHC Director Ken Graham warned that rivers up to 60km inland may flood. The storm is expected to bring catastrophic flooding and rain - something that might not be music to the ears of North Carolina lawmakers who banned laws based on the science of sea levels.

Steady streams of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone on North Carolina's coast to flee.

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More than 10 million people are under storm warnings in the Carolinas and Virginia according to the National Weather Service . Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday as the monster storm moved in for an extended stay along the Southeastern coast, promising to drench the properties of 10 million people with vast amounts of water. SC has also canceled classes through at least Saturday due to the storm.

Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation? In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.

NOAA's Hurricane Hunters are created to tell us more about storms like these.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

Marshall: Well, if it does follow the path of come more toward Charlotte, when can we expect to see the greatest effect here in the Charlotte region?

Astronauts on International Space Station showcase power of Hurricane Florence in photos
Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely risky major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days. Florence's predicted path as of Wednesday has it making landfall on the SC coast, just south of North Carolina.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state. The agency is also warning people in the evacuation areas to leave stating that "This is not going to be a glancing blow".

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

TRACKING FLORENCE: Stay with The Weather Network online and on T.V. for our exclusive coverage of the storm.

The US president said he had spoken to governors of threatened states, adding that the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7".

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.

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