Hurricane Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 485 kilometres ahead of its "eye", and so full of rain that a swath from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged. "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime".
Like Hurricane Harvey - which stalled over Texas in 2017 - Florence could linger over the Southeast for several days after making landfall, bringing prolonged, heavy rain. Typically, local governments in the state make the call on evacuations.
Needham said the size of the storm will also play a big role.
The flooding will depend whether Florence slows down and lingers over coastal areas as it moves inland, Salna says.
"The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties", UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement.
Sharp said weather conditions will deteriorate as we go through the day on Thursday with rain, a little wind and the chance of tornadoes.
Meanwhile, as scientists continue their debate, Hurricane Florence is set to cross seas a degree or more warmer than normal on its path to the U.S. east coast.
The path, intensity and timing of the storm is likely to keep changing through the day Wednesday, but the latest 5 a.m. update shows Florence will no longer be close to Category 5 - with winds of 145 miles per hour - through Thursday morning. And Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas, while some coastal counties in North Carolina have done the same. "The school's closed until Friday, so there's no reason to stay, really".
Michael Kennedy, an engineer at Boeing, said he planned to leave on Tuesday for his parents' home in Atlanta, Georgia. Allison Jones said she's not taking any chances.
"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.
Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus. "Not anxious in the least". "Until the system gets flushed out, there's going to be a lot of junk in the water". "I think I'd bring a social scientist in here to see what the net value of having a Category 6 designation would be", he said. Miles of traffic slowed to a crawl along the main highway along North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's evacuation order applies to about 245,000 people, including parts of the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore.
"It can save your life", he said.
Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane. He also declared a state of emergency in Virginia. Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Florence could produce sustained winds of 241 km/h over the next 24 hours - just shy of the 252 km/h threshold that would push it to Category 5 strength.
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