There has been a dramatic change in the projected path of the first hurricane of the season expected to make landfall on the United States.
The center said the water level could hit from 7 to 10 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and from 6 to 9 feet from Cape Lookout to Ocracoke Inlet.
In addition to the dangers the expected deluge of water poses, the hurricane center cautioned, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina beginning late Thursday morning".
Hurricane Florence is on track to blast the southeastern USA coast with ferocious winds and rain, but it may also swamp hog manure pits and coal ash dumps, spreading their toxins; as well as inundate nuclear reactors in the region, according to news reports.
To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".
Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.More news: Mother and Infant Among First Reported Fatalities as Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall
USA insurers are bracing for what could be $20 billion in losses as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolinas and Virginia, bringing punishing rains and potentially deadly flooding.
"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
"North Carolina, my message is clear", a grim Gov. Roy Cooper said at a briefing today. All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast. Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, calculates that Florence will deduct about $200 million of output a day from North Carolina's $550 billion-a-year economy until business returns to something close to normal. Usually storms come to the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic from the south - and those usually curve safely out to sea.
And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties.
Florence is unusual in that it is aiming at the Carolinas from the east.
Two big fuel pipelines stand in the hurricane's path, but analysts say they think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.More news: European Union lawmakers vote to take measures against Hungary
She said it will become a "major flooding event".
Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.
And while take-offs aboard the Gulfstream 4 aircraft are smooth, once they enter a hurricane it's intense, and the flights last for eight hours.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow", warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Tropical disturbance Invest 95L as of Wednesday morning.More news: Florence lands in Myrtle Beach area, bringing rain, wind, flooding
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