Hurricane Florence: Where will the storm hit?

"All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come". Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, 'The time to prepare is nearly over.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience". The power company has warned that up to 3 million people could be left without power for an extended period of time following Hurricane Florence. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Georgia joined North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in issuing an emergency declaration as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of rain - potentially 37 trillion litres - on the southern states.

FEMA's Long warned the danger was not only along the coast: "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

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Around 4 a.m., the Associated Press tweeted the eye of the hurricane was beginning to reach North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

Florence remained a serious threat, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles-an-hour Thursday afternoon with hurricane force winds extending 80 miles from the center.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

In the North Carolina town of Wilmington, which could take a direct hit from Florence, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

Although the storm is approaching the US coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle.

Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events.

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