Florence, now a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (209 km/h), was previously expected to travel north, up the North Carolina coast, after making landfall, according to the statement.
Florence exploded into a potentially catastrophic hurricane Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds up to 140 miles per hour (220 kph) and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week. But, it's the water, not the wind, that has the potential to make the storm so deadly, experts say.
Most models showed the storm hovering over the central Carolinas through the weekend, with the eye moving into central SC by 8 a.m. Sunday.
Even with some weakening that's predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a risky major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said. The governors of North Carolina and Virginia have announced mandatory evacuations of hundreds of thousands more in their states.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow, " warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "So this is not just going to be a coastal threat". That is what happened previous year with Hurricane Harvey, which brought more than 150 centimeters of rain to the Houston, Texas area.
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Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolinas, poised to slam the coastline Friday.
"There's 25% more people living between Charleston (South Carolina) and Morehead City (North Carolina) than there were when Hugo was making landfall", CNN meteorologist Myers said. This would put us in a swath of maybe up to 4-8 inches of rain from Friday night to early Monday evening and could linger beyond that as the remnants cast off to our west. Catastrophic floods could follow if the storm stalls inland, it said. Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas.
As of 2 p.m., the storm was centred 435 miles (700 kilometres) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph (26 kph).
Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC. Sharp added that some areas could see flooding where he hasn't flooded before.
The storm could also to affect weather here in the United Kingdom, though the Met Office has said it is "uncertain" about what the impact could be. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. "Everyone was sold out", she said.
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High winds can take down trees and power lines.
Florence could be only the second Category 4 storm to pummel the Carolinas since 1800, when record-keeping began.
SC authorities have turned four motorways into one-way routes away from the coast to speed the exodus.
The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet of water in spots, projections showed.
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