Storm surge could be Hurricane Florence's deadliest, most destructive threat

Hillsborough Fire Rescue Trainer Prudy Vallejo loads

More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The assistance also includes Florida utilities sending crews to help restore power after the hurricane and the state suspending requirements for transportation of animals to help in the movement of livestock from areas affected by the hurricane.

The USA's National Hurricane Center has said the big Hurricane Florence is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to portions of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.

Almost one year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, killing more than 1,400 Americans and leaving the island largely powerless for months, President Donald Trump issued a message on Hurricane Florence: "We're ready".

Florence is about 25 miles (45 km) north-east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it. Numerous evacuees took their pets.

Besides inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 13 feet (4 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

As of yesterday evening Singapore time, Atlantic Beach, a town on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier island chain, had already received 76cm of rain, the US Geological Service said.

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But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster due to human-caused warming.

And there's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles (80 kilometers) off shore versus heading inland immediately, Landsea said. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".

Governor Roy Cooper has warned of an impending disaster. "It's insane", he said by telephone.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

Two people died in Lenoir County. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks. Adding to the storm stress is uncertainty about where exactly Florence will make landfall, after a shift in its track put more of the Southeast in danger.

As Florence closed in, President Donald Trump and state and local officials urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate before it was too late. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.

And if Florence weren't enough, other storms out there are threatening people. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect 5.2 million people.

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