Hurricane Florence seen from space is a 'no-kidding nightmare'

Hurricane Florence from space

Hurricane Florence from space

Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying "if you are asked to leave, get out".

Hurricane Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make a unsafe impact once it makes landfall along the coast of the southeast USA later this week.

Meteorologist Christina Speciale said that as of Wednesday morning there is a "50 to 55 percent" chance that Beaufort County experiences tropical-storm-force winds starting sometime between Friday evening and early Saturday.

Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. Three college football games with Top 25 teams have been called off: East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 15 West Virginia at NC State and No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina.

"A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations ..."

The storm surge, or wind-driven seawater, poses a huge danger, FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned on ABC's "Good Morning America".

How much rain with North Carolina and SC receive? But authorities warned it will still be an extremely unsafe hurricane.

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Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence
The entire coastlines of North and SC , in addition to some parts of southeastern Virginia, are under a mandatory evacuation plan. Moreover, high tides around noon and midnight these next few days will make the storm surges even worse, Samson said.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina.

Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths. While the wind in the eye weakened, the storm grew in size and the hurricane-force winds expanding outward up to 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the center of the hurricane.

This contrasts with other storms, such as Harvey, which sat for days over Houston and dumped more than 51 inches of rain, killing 82 people a year ago.

The Hurricane Center said although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast.

The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across SC. It's expected to drop between 20 and 40 inches of rain in some parts that could produce "catastrophic flash flooding", according to NOAA. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit. Tropical Storm Olivia is expected to move over Hawaii Wednesday or Thursday, KHNL reported. "But [Beaufort County] could still end up seeing some heavy rainfall and gusty winds".

Slower hurricanes - such as Hurricane Harvey - can dump more rain on an area before moving on, adding to their destructive power.

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