'Don't play games with it': Florence takes aim at Southeast

Hurricane map uses an unfortunate graphic to display devastation

Hurricane map uses an unfortunate graphic to display devastation

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

Last night, the National Hurricane Center shifted its forecast for the hurricane's path from northwest to slightly more west, raising the potential for tropic storm-force winds in parts of Florida as soon as Friday evening.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

The time to prepare is nearly over, he said. Recovery could take weeks or months.

"This storm is going to get stronger before it makes landfall", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

- Even from orbit, Hurricane Florence looks like a monster.

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding.

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20 inches of rain, if not more, with as much as 10 inches elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C.

It's all eyes on Hurricane Florence over the next several days.

That doesn't quite measure up to the 25 trillion gallons Harvey dropped on Texas and Louisiana past year. It will also slam on the brakes and stall near the coast of the Carolinas. So the land can't absorb much more water. "Now the coast, all threats are on, but for the Charlotte area, the threat is increasing for flooding rain".

That much rain is 2.4 trillion cubic feet (68 billion cubic meters).

"Historical rainfall amounts from #Florence are possible with UNPRECEDENTED flooding", according to the National Weather Service office in Newport and Morehead City, on North Carolina's coast. Even scarier: It could get more violent as it gets closer to the Carolinas.

The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Thursday and Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US electricity sector has been well prepared for Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

North Florida is still outside the cone of forecast tracks for the center of the storm, but the size of Florence means impacts will extend to a large area of the Southeast. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said.

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties.

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