14:50 GMT +318 November 2019
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    A truck drives moves through flood waters left behind by Hurricane Harvey, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Aransas Pass, Texas.

    Florence is Coming: America Braces for Hurricane Landfall, Expects Huge Floods

    © AP Photo / Eric Gay
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    The hurricane is expected to hit American soil on Friday. But it is the flooding that might cause the most damage.

    Hurricane Florence is approaching the US East Coast and is expected to hit on Friday, but the preceding weather conditions, classified as a "tropical storm," will be felt Thursday. The hurricane is expected to bring in winds of about 150 mph, which is fast enough to dismantle panel housing

    The National Hurricane Center warns of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall," and a hurricane warning is in effect for a massive chunk of the coast, from South Carolina to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

    The hurricane weakened Wednesday, weather experts say, but it also became much bigger and more stable, and therefore will cover a significantly bigger area.

    And it might not even be the coast that will suffer the most. According to FEMA spokesman Steve Goldstein, "Once the storm does move inland, the inland flooding threat is extreme."

    ​While a National Weather Service forecast on Wednesday predicted some 25 inches of rainfall at most, FEMA's estimations are far worse.

    "Fifteen to 25 inches of rain is forecast, with up to 40 inches near the exact center of Florence," Goldstein said. That equates to about 1 meter of water falling across huge areas of inland America.

    "This hurricane is bringing more rain than any other hurricane," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, according to SCETV Twitter.

    ​"The more time it sits over an area, the greater the danger of catastrophic flooding. Even well inland, boats may be the most valuable means of transport," an ABC report warns.

    A state of emergency has been declared in both South and North Carolina, as well as in Virginia, Maryland and Georgia.

    As South Carolina prepares for the environmental disaster, some 2,100 National Guard soldiers have been dispatched to prepare for it. Some 2,800 soldiers are expected to be on duty in North Carolina.

    In Charleston, South Carolina, the government gave out 53,000 sandbags to fend off flooding in the historic town, reporting that "there is no longer any sand available at any City of Charleston location."

    ​The Wilmington fire department in North Carolina urged those who decided to ignore the evacuation order and try to ride out the storm to prepare water and nonperishable foods for at least seven days of hardship.

    ​The two Carolinas have set up and are constantly updating a list of emergency shelters for those who have nowhere to go to wait through the storm.

    The National Hurricane Center warns that even though Florence has become somewhat weaker and appears to be moving south of where it was initially predicted to make landfall, this does not mean people to the north are safe. The hurricane itself has only become much larger and more stable — meaning long lasting — and it is expected to move northwest Wednesday and Thursday.

    "Just because we have a landfall to your south, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system," NHC Director Ken Graham said.

    "I know folks have been watching the weather reports over the last few days and thinking well, we might just dodge this bullet," Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said. "Well, now is the time to make that decision to go ahead and get out of town."

    "There is still time to get out safely," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper echoed.


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    Flood, emergency, rain, hurricane, disaster, Hurricane Florence, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), National Hurricane Center, South Carolina, United States, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia
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