Trump declares state of emergency in the Carolinas, Virginia

ABC NewsFlorence's path has it slowing and spinning just off the coast of North Carolina

ABC NewsFlorence's path has it slowing and spinning just off the coast of North Carolina

People along the Carolina coasts are evacuating ahead of Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

Watch more from Cooper above, and follow Florence's track below.

"This storm is not going to be a glancing blow", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 300 miles (485 kilometres) ahead of its eye, and so wet that a swath from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged. The hurricane caused an estimated $90 billion in damage there and on the U.S. Virgin Islands, making it the third-costliest hurricane in American history.

Hurricane Florence is getting worse. Wind gusts estimated to be at least 150 miles per hour knocked down trees and power lines. High winds will bring down trees and power lines, so residents are urged to be prepared to go without electricity for several days.

The hurricane warning was issued for issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Beach communities in North and SC emptied out on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatened to unleash pounding surf and potentially deadly flooding as the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on the states in decades.

A Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour recorded in places, Hugo created storm tides as high as 20 feet, flooding the SC coast.

The European model was accurate in predicting 60in for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area in 2017.

ABC News Rainfall could be as much as 40 inches locally along the North Carolina coast
ABC News Rainfall could be as much as 40 inches locally along the North Carolina coast

Fran, a Category 3 storm, made landfall in the Cape Fear, N.C., area. "The wind literally piles up the ocean water and pushes it on the land".

In South Carolina, traffic in all lanes of Interstate 26 from Charleston to Columbia has been directed away from the coast, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Total insured losses were estimated to be about $1.3 billion. Up to 35 inches of rain could fall through early next week over parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.

Hundreds of thousands of hogs died. Flooding caused 50 of the 56 US deaths attributed to Floyd and much of the damage, which was estimated at up to $6 billion. A ridge of high pressure situated over the Central and Eastern United States is forecast to be a little stronger than anticipated, and this feature should force Florence to move around its periphery.

The last Category 4 hurricane to plough into North Carolina was Hazel in 1952, a devastating storm that killed 19 people and destroyed some 15,000 homes. Like Floyd, it caused widespread flooding.

Parts of North Carolina could get 20 inches of rain, if not more, with as much as 10 inches elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C. Life-threatening storm surges of up to a staggering 13 feet in some places were also forecast.

Florence, a potentially life-threatening Category 4 hurricane, is on track to make landfall in North Carolina or SC on Thursday (Sept. 13).

Kerry Emanuel, an expert on hurricanes and climate change at MIT, said in an email that the research "may prove a game-changer in climate-hurricane studies".

Hurricane Florence weakened slightly as it underwent something called an eyewall replacement cycle, which occurs when a new eyewall forms, eventually breaking down and replacing the old one.

Hurricane Florence: Warnings of life-threatening surge
Additionally, there will be damaging winds that could top 100 miles per hour, isolated tornadoes, and "devastating" storm surge . The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph.

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