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Hurricane Florence is a "horrific nightmare" for meteorologists tracking the storm

Hurricane Florence is a

The National Hurricane Center says "a life-threatening storm surge is now likely" along the North and SC coasts as Hurricane Florence approaches the USA eastern seaboard.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100 miles per hour (170 km per hour) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 mph (224 kph) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

The Weather Channel's forecast video shows the potential damage such surges could inflict on the southern states.

FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate.

In yet another reminder to those in the path of the storm, it's worth noting that Trump also said the response to last year's hurricane in Puerto Rico - which officially killed almost 3,000 people - had been "incredibly successful". German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted pictures of the monster storm taken from the International Space Station along with the warning: "Watch out, America!"

After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.

The danger of chemicals escaping in a storm is real: after Hurricane Harvey a year ago, the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas released a toxic cloud into the nearby community after being flooded and losing power, resulting in hundreds of evacuations.

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it, it's a big one, maybe as big as they've seen", Trump on Wednesday.

"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added.

More news: Mac Miller Was Reportedly Dead for Hours Before His Body Was Found

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the briefing said.

As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.

Florence could bring wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres and NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook they could push in as far as three kilometres. The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says. The Weather Channel reported the storm is likely to make landfall either tonight or Friday, after which it will stall over the Southeast, producing buckets of rain that could accumulate to unsafe amounts.

Abrams says he expects Hurricane Florence to bring 10 to 20 inches of rain in most places and that the Carolinas can expect extensive flooding.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said. But Luettich said it is still not well understood how factors like rain accumulation and land saturation affect river and coastal flooding during major storm events.

Like many other officials in the storm's path, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said no one will be able to save at-risk residents if they choose to ride out the storm.

Solange Iliou Thompson, a restaurant owner in the town of Wilmington, North Carolina, made her stance clear. "There's nobody left to work.

And the vast majority of the time they are OK", she said.


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