Hurricane Florence map uses an unfortunate graphic to display devastation

Florence UPDATE for Friday landfall North Carolina

Hurricane Florence is moving closer to the coast of North and SC, where it is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

As of 5:00 am (1100 GMT), Florence was a risky Category 4 hurricane packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. "Everybody is trying to get out of the coast", she said.

ESRI created a tracker to estimate just how many people would be affected by the storm's path given key demographic data from the area inside the error cone. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia.

"The primary fuel for hurricanes is a warm sea surface, which is getting warmer with climate change", said Dr Kelly McCusker, a climate scientist at the independent economic research firm Rhodium Group.

Jeff Byard, an administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said: "Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?"

Trump has urged those in the path of Hurricane Florence to act now to 'get out of its way'. "In the past, it's been safer to leave them there", a state department of corrections spokesman said.

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Mr Graham said the Pamlico and Neuse rivers in North Carolina will see their flows "reversed" as storm surges push water back inland.

Data collected during the flight allows the NOAA to keep a watchful eye on the most powerful storm to date in the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, to research its speed, intensity and structure.

Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses. This storm is a slow-moving mammoth and will linger for days on the coast, heavily affecting not only North and SC but also Georgia and parts of Virginia before moving further inland, causing devastation to entire states throughout the weekend. The National Hurricane Center says it's now expected to hit Wilmington and then veer west, taking it south of Charlotte.

"Rail cars with vehicles destined for export from Charleston have been diverted to secure holding areas until the storm passes", BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks said.

"The biggest thing is you're always anxious about yourself and friends and family - and whether they'll have a place to come back to", he said.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

More than one million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia. "That's the primary driver of the evacuations that are underway by the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia right now".

Many people in coastal communities have followed the mandatory evacuation orders, but some are vowing to stay put and ride it out.

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