How big is Hurricane Florence, and answers to other questions

'This is a big storm': Results could be catastrophic

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storms peak winds have decreased.

The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC.

"Also, most storms coming into the Carolinas tend to move northward, and this storm looks like it's going to stall over the region and potentially bring tremendous life-threatening flooding".

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to courageous the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.

More people were expected at arrive at more emergency shelters as the latest forecasts showed Hurricane Florence taking aim at the Carolinas Wednesday morning.

And during last year's Hurricane Irma, officials said 12 people died in Florida's Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after temperatures in the nursing home rose to 99 degrees.

Even miles away from the Atlantic, North Carolina residents in low-lying areas are boarding up and emptying stores. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week. Forecasts predict as much as 20 inches of rain in some places but one computer model warned there could be up to 45 inches, almost four feet.

More than 5.4 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches on the US East Coast, according to the NWS, and another four million people were under a tropical storm watch.

Florence has for several days remained a unsafe Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour during its approach to the U.S. East Coast.

If this scenario plays out, meteorologists say there would be monumental rainfall totals along the coast and just inland east of the eye's landfall location.

"This morning I drove around for an hour looking for gas in Cary".

Following landfall, Florence will continue weakening and shifting westward, becoming a tropical depression late Sunday night as the tropical system drifts into north Georgia.

But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will remain behind at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program.

People weren't the only ones evacuating to get out of the path of Hurricane Florence.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic. Hurricane-force winds (74 mph and higher) are extending 70 miles out from the center and tropical-storm-force winds (39 to 73 mph) are being felt 175 miles out.

A satellite image showing Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean this week.

"It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won't be known until a day in advance", Landsea said.

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