Hurricane Florence's fury lashes Carolinas, Jewish communities prepare

Hurricane Florence NOAA update

Hurricane Florence NOAA update

But earlier today The Weather Channel put out a forecast with an unexpectedly dark twist. Despite the downgrade from Category 4 to Category 2, authorities warned that Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land.

In less than 24 hours, Florence has dropped from category 4 to category 2.

Up to 40 inches of rain could fall in North Carolina.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

"We have prepared everything", he says, "to have enough food, water, batteries, radio, first-aid supplies, and everything we need to be safe". Storm surge warnings indicate a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the coming 36 hours.

Hurricane Florence is not expected to make landfall until Friday morning but residents in coastal areas are already losing power as gusts lash the eastern edge of North Carolina.

Forecasters have warned of life-threatening storm surges, catastrophic flooding, damaging winds, and risky rip currents along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

FEMA has warned that while downgraded, the storm will still generate life threatening storm surge and rainfall in North and SC.

As the storm - with those winds - nears shallow water along the coast, its forces water inland.

While Florence has lost some of its strength, it is still considered an extremely risky and life-threatening storm.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

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The storm's outer bands have reached the Wilmington region, prompting flooding in coastal communities from the hurricane's high storm surges, which forecasters said would be up to 13 feet high.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center.

But then the screen behind Navarro becomes the storm surge itself, and, well, you just have to watch the whole thing.

Paige Sheehan, a spokesperson for local utility Duke Energy, told us on Wednesday that the company had 20,000 workers at the ready to restore power, but that it was warning customers they could be without power for weeks.

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.

What also makes Florence extremely unsafe are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins".

These storm surges can cause rapid, devastating floods shortly before or after the hurricane hits.

Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

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