"And that will produce a lot of damage as well as prolong the beach erosion".
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told The Associated Press. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet - that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said. All that said, a saturated ground, even with tropical storm-force winds, will uproot trees. The Saffir-Simpson scale that meteorologists use to measure hurricanes reflects only the wind speeds involved in the storm, and right now Hurricane Florence's winds are hovering at maximum speeds of about 110 miles per hour (175 km/h). Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely unsafe.
Services and flights have been suspended on Thursday and Friday at Wilmington International Airport on North Carolina's coast.
Persistent rains with 160 km/h winds or higher will take their toll on structures.
The storm's center was about 110 miles (180 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.
"Heed the warnings", said Byard, adding there was "well over $20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund. We only need to remember that tropical storm Irene was not a hurricane when it created tremendous damage to homes and covered bridges in Vermont in 2011.
Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina.
How many people will it affect?The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". The storm surge could reach up to more than 3.9m, if the maximum surge coincides with high tide.
The biggest surge should occur just to the north of where the eye of the storm comes ashore, which the Hurricane Center projects in southeastern North Carolina. A surge of at least 4 feet is predicted for a much larger area.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Slower storms mean more rainfall over a smaller area.
Models agree that excessive amounts of rain will fall in southeastern North Carolina.
Myrtle Beach International Airport in SC has also suspended commercial operations, and urges passengers to check with their airlines - not the airport - about upcoming itineraries.
"As it tracks towards the United Kingdom it will degrade - it will become an ex-tropical storm". Will the winds be that strong or they'll be stronger when they get here than that?
Meanwhile, lane reversals on USA 501 ended at noon and reversals on I-26 will end at 6 p.m., allowing state police and transportation workers to get to a safe location before the storm hits.
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