More than a thousand flights canceled in advance of Hurricane Florence

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"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge".

The storm was 500 miles wide at the time, with its outer bands stretching over the equivalent of a full third of the U.S. East Coast.

The primary example of this is 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which had modest 80mph winds by the time it reached the NY and New Jersey areas.

"But that's not going to be until Monday", Eliasen said".

The National Hurricane Center expects hurricane-force winds to reach the coastline near the border of the two states by late Thursday or early Friday. That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

Services and flights have been suspended on Thursday and Friday at Wilmington International Airport on North Carolina's coast.

Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend.

He added: "This is a very unsafe storm".

For the first time, researchers have calculated the impact of climate change on a hurricane before the storm is over.

"Hurricane Florence was uninvited but she's just about here anyway", he said at a news conference. The ground is saturated with water and unlikely able to withstand the heavy, persistent rains that are expected.

"With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days".

"That is a concern our team of meteorologists has - if it stalls and how much rain could possibly fall within a certain period of time", says Feinstein, adding concerns that there could be "massive flooding of runways and other infrastructure". Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them. Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds.

With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. On Tuesday (September 11), they published a map to their Facebook page showing the extent of the likely wind damage brought to the United States as Florence penetrates the Eastern seaboard. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas". Some flooding was forecast early in the day for parts of North Florida, but those forecasts were adjusted later to include high swells and minor coastal flooding at high tide. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Most wind damage will occur Friday and early Saturday as the storm slowly passes through southern North Carolina into SC.

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