Hurricane Florence's potentially devastating winds are generating enormous waves as high as 83 feet as it continues to make its way toward the East Coast and insurers predict it will become the costliest such storm to ever hit the continental U.S.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said that while Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday and into Friday, it will still be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it makes landfall.
Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.
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Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. At 7 a.m., the center of the eye was located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) east of Wilmington , moving west at 6 mph.
States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".
Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. "In light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".
The hurricane could also produce heavy and excessive rainfall - up to 40 inches in isolated areas in the Carolinas and anywhere between 6 to 12 inches elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region. With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater.
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More than 634,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said. They ventured out in life jackets into the waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree.
"The National Hurricane Center forecasts additional strengthening for Florence before it reaches the coastline of North Carolina and SC early Friday, Sept. 14", NASA wrote in the description of the video. Governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have issued mandatory evacuations and lane reversals. Many major roads and arteries have reversed traffic flow to help residents evacuate quickly.
"These conditions favor some strengthening, but eyewall replacement cycles could cause some fluctuations in intensity during that time".
Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.
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Secretary of State, speaks during the International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston, June 7, 2018. Met Zarif again in NY in April.