Storm Rider 6 in Outer Banks ahead of Hurricane Florence

Storm Rider 6 in Outer Banks ahead of Hurricane Florence

The winds of Hurricane Florence weakened as the storm prepared to hit the U.S. East Coast, but forecasters warn the storm's overall size and its ability to push ashore a storm surge while dropping tremendous amounts of rain make it a threat to the lives of those in its path. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday.

Florence is now expected to begin delivering tropical storm-force winds in the region by early Thursday, escalating to hurricane-force winds by late Thursday or early Friday.

FEMA said Thursday the ocean would also begin rising in a matter of hours in North Carolina's bays, sounds and coastal rivers, due to storm surge and "feet of rain" over a period of days. Then, it will likely hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to four metres of storm surge and dumping water on both states. "Its a big one", he said at the White House. Currently, the hurricane is centered around 31.5°N and 73.2°W about 500 km from the coast, moving in a northwest direction.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority".

The team, made up of seven guardsmen from Huntington, are traveling with 14 others to Sampson, Columbus, and Robinson Counties in North Carolina.

Florence is already making its presence felt along the coast of North Carolina.

About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported.

"We could have these conditions for another 12 hours and it is really exponential in terms of its level of destruction, not only because of the storm surge and the tide cycles that it will go through". Meanwhile inland regions of the Palmetto State, North Carolina and Virginia are expected to see 6-12 inches of rain, with up to two feet falling in isolated areas.

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Georgia, crashes into waves in the surf bolstered by the incoming Hurricane Florence on the south beach of Tybee Island, Georgia.

Where is Hurricane Florence now? The forecast calls for as much as 102 centimetres of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm slogs away over the Appalachian Mountains.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Duke Energy, the nation's No 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers.

Tim Fitch sent this video to our sister station 13News Now - WVEC of Hurricane Florence creating storm surge waters that are knee deep in spots!

"However, the predictability of such an event is too low to explicitly show in the forecast at this point", the NHC wrote in its 5 a.m. advisory.