Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday with 90-mph (144 kph) winds, torrential rains and a powerful storm surge before slowing to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.
Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday, the NHC added.
Florence is moving over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and is expected to approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday. She said it will become a "major flooding event".
The eye was about 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west-northwest at 17 miles per hour.
The Newnan Times-Herald will continue to monitor the Hurricane Florence and share the latest information online at www.times-herald.com, on our Facebook page and in our daily print editions. He cautioned residents to closely monitor Hurricane Florence. "It's one of those situations where you're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic, life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds".
"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
As Hurricane Florence gets closer to the Carolinas, Hurricane Hunters from the Bay area are flying right into the storm.
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The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet of water in spots, projections showed.
Despite pleas from officials, some residents ignored calls to evacuate. This storm is going to be a direct hit.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.
Communities could lose electricity for weeks, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long said.
20 to 30 inches will fall on southeastern North Carolina, Charlotte could see around five to 10 inches of rain.
"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center.
"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel. President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".