North Carolina coast feels Florence's first blast of wind, rain

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"We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge".

Hurricane Florence is predicted to bring "catastrophic flash flooding" to parts of North and SC, along with strong winds and a massive storm surge.

As of 11 a.m., Florence was located at 33.4 N, 75.5 W, about 145 miles (230 km) ESE of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 195 miles (315 km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We will start to see Florence slow down a bit as the day progresses.

A powerful high-pressure ridge is expected to keep Florence south through the weekend after its expected landfall Friday morning in the Myrtle Beach/Wilmington areas of South and North Carolina.

More news: National Hurricane Center Updates Current Status of Tropical Storm Florence

Florence has it all: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes. "A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe".

Florence's winds and rains began to batter the Carolinas on Thursday. Showers and storms will increase in activity as the day progresses. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through the streets of Hatteras Village, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth. Some areas could see gusts 40-50 miles per hour, with gusts up to hurricane strength in the OBX.

High tides along the James and York rivers are expected to be as much as 3 feet above normal, which could affect flood-prone areas and roads, the weather service said. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or risky.

Based on the current forecast track, here is what to expect... "My message today: Don't relax".

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Elizabeth City: 30-40 G50+.

North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs.

Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC: 4-6′. Smaller enclaves of Gullah, referred to as Geechee in some areas, are scattered along the Southeast coast from North Carolina to Florida. The storm was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour. This general motion, accompanied by a further decrease in forward speed, is expected to continue through today. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Accuweather reported that its meteorologists "believe that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday".

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"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said. Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315km.