Map of North Carolina Showing Latest GFS, European Models

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Arrival: Florence's landfall is expected late Thursday night or Friday morning.

The state of North Carolina is preparing for a major storm.

"The water could overtake some of these barrier islands and keep on going". "All you have to do is look up at your ceiling, and think about 12 feet (of water)".

"It can save your life", he said.

Cooper called the residents of his state "a hardy bunch" that have endured a multitude of past storms, but that "this storm is different". The very center of that bullseye may be Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Corps training base, where authorities were opening emergency operation centers, staging equipment and urging families on the base to build survival kits with food and equipment needed to sustain themselves for 72 hours. "We are totally prepared", Mr Trump said at the White House.

More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered. North Carolina has only been hit by one other Category 4 storm since record keeping began in the 1850s - Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which took 19 lives. Because that work was already underway, wastewater levels inside the ash ponds have been falling, Duke Energy spokesman Bill Norton said Tuesday.

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"This storm is going to be a direct hit".

He did confirm models were picking up on some wind shear - when wind blows in the opposite direction and disrupts a system - entering the equation around the time of expected landfall late Thursday into Friday.

"I can't emphasise enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge and inland flooding".

Because warmer ocean conditions are exactly what climate change is expected to produce, it has been natural to wonder whether more fast-intensifying storms will be in the offing.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "A similar set-up happened with Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area a year ago, causing Harvey to move very little for about two days".

The NHC warned that hurricane force winds may extend 65 kilometers from the center and tropical-storm-force winds may reach 240 kilometers outward.

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"Unfortunately, the models were right".

As of Tuesday morning, the storm is located 900 miles southeast of North Carolina's coast, and advancing at a relatively rapid speed of 16 miles per hour.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", it said early Wednesday. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

Far from this hurricane parade on the other side of the globe, Tropical Storm Olivia is flying solo east of Hawaii.

Hurricane warning: South Santee River South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina and Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm nevertheless on the Outer Banks.

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Compounding the issue of flooding is the type of summer North Carolina has had. But even the most secure homes could be surrounded by water, or penetrated by wind-launched debris. "A lot of local people are staying", she said of the island, which is reachable only by ferry or plane.