Hurricane Florence starts its prolonged assault on the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence is expected to grow in intensity

When Alexander Gerst and Ricky Arnold, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), attempted to photograph Hurricane Florence, the storm was so big they "could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens", according to Gerst.

By Thursday morning, the wind and rain tore the flag down the stripes all the way to the pole.

"It's not a zero event".

"The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said. "That's the second story of a house", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning. "It's a nasty interplay that makes it very hard". Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge. On Tuesday (September 11), they published a map to their Facebook page showing the extent of the likely wind damage brought to the USA as Florence penetrates the Eastern seaboard. Though Ike had 110mph winds at landfall, it had grown very large over the Gulf of Mexico, and this large size allowed it to develop an enormous amount of "integrated energy" that manifested itself as a devastating storm surge.

It's now expected to continue weakening and dissipate in five days.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

Because the storm will slow it moves over the eastern Carolinas, these wind impacts will be magnified.

She added: "The feeling is that it's the wind that's going to be the issue rather than rain and we're probably looking at gale-force winds".

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The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places. Catastrophic river flooding and flash flooding will occur for a large portion of eastern North and SC. Meteorologist Greg Diamond has noted that areas along the coast of North Carolina on the right side of the storm could experience a significant storm surge through multiple high tide cycles, which would have a cumulative battering effect. Given its expected slow speed once it rolls ashore, they warned the heavy rain and storm could spread across a wide area.

The storm fell to a Category 2 Wednesday night, but faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

The storm's center was about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon.

The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.

"Two years ago, we made hot dogs and sold PBR out of Bar Normandy", resident Chaz Green said at One Broad, a local restaurant that is now the go-to venue for hurricane parties.

"Power outages will linger the longest and cause the most trouble", Abrams says.

Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene also continued to deliver good news.

Another disturbance is swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane centre also adjusted its projected track, but kept it north of what most computer models were showing, to provide some continuity with past forecasts.

The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said. Most were scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

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