Hurricane Florence could cause catastrophic freshwater flooding in Carolinas

Tony Winborne 37 looks at a computer in a Hurricane Florence evacuation shelter where he says it's

The National Hurricane Center says "a life-threatening storm surge is now likely" along the North and SC coasts as Hurricane Florence approaches the USA eastern seaboard.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

With storm surges of up to 11 feet predicted as Hurricane Florence strikes the Carolinas Friday, The Weather Channel created this sobering simulation with graphics that shows how risky that is - by putting their meteorologists into the virtual world. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

More significant weakening was expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves inland, the NHC said.

To find out the latest on power outages from the various power companies serving North Carolina you can check out the NC Emergency Management website.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

"The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years", Duke Energy incident commander Howard Fowler said in a statement.

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Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave
Storm surge has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center . Hurricane Florence has already proven to be not just powerful and destructive but wildly unpredictable.

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As of 11 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).

Florence's intensity has diminished since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane.

Its hurricane-force winds extend up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the centre, and its tropical storm-force winds extend up to 315 kilometres (195 miles).

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina. At least 1 million people were ordered to evacuate along the coast. Further development of that system is no longer anticipated, the NHC said. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas.

The National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service is predicting "Major Flooding", its most severe classification, from south of the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, to as as far south as the Waccamaw River near Myrtle Beach, SC.

Mayor Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN traffic out of the SC city has more than quadrupled as residents and visitors evacuate. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia declared emergencies to help speed up government aid efforts.

Duke Energy, the major power supplier for North and SC, told the New York Times on Wednesday that the storm could knock out power for up to 3 million customers across the two states.

On the Outer Banks, some people are preparing to ride out the storm, despite an evacuation order. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, and a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain, authorities said.

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