Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hurricane Florence from space: photos of the hurricane showed in the NASA

Hurricane Florence from space: photos of the hurricane showed in the NASA

Forecast maps show Florence stalling out just off the coast of the Carolinas for at least 24 hours, starting Friday morning.

A satellite image shows Hurricane Florence looming in the Atlantic Ocean as the sun rises over the U.S. Florence is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to North Carolina and SC on Thursday and hurricane conditions on Friday.

"Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in", Cooper said.

Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.

The ocean waters that Florence is travelling over are about 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal, McNoldy said.

Further, she said there will be in increased risk for isolated tornadoes, and the potential heavy rain and wind gusts from Florence could uproot trees and cause power outages.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal followed suit on Wednesday.

It's all eyes on Hurricane Florence over the next several days.

The storm was expected to become a tropical depression on Saturday and significant weakening was expected over the weekend, the NHC said in a bulletin.

A storm covering enormous area, to drench and lash more people.

For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said. In Myrtle Beach, S.C., and nearby areas, the surge could hit 6-9 feet.

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents. The only exception was Edisto Beach - that and other areas to the north remain under evacuation orders.

The Virginia National Guard is planning to initially bring up to 1,500 soldiers and airmen to offer help in the state's response operations. 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.

In Charleston, South Carolina, streets were quiet with schools and many offices and businesses closed.

For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.

A hurricane warning for the coast from Duck, North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, to the South Santee River, South Carolina.

Florence is now heading for ocean water that has surface temperatures of about 85 degrees, meaning it will most likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

The hurricane is expected to reach 150 miles per hour before landfall Thursday night.

Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be.

The lingering storm could bring days of heavy rains, which could spark intense floods from SC to Virginia. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track but stayed north of what most computer models were showing to prove some continuity with past forecasts. With that much size and strength, even a glancing blow could be devastating - something forecasters stressed as they noted the shift in the predicted track.

"While it remains possible the system becomes a tropical storm, we see no reason right now to believe it becomes more than that, and we're not convinced it develops at all", said Space City Weather's Eric Berger in the blog.

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