New tool shows how storm surge could affect where you live

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

The life-threatening storm is now located about 905 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and is moving at a speed of 16 mph.

The "extremely unsafe major hurricane" is predicted to hit the coast late Thursday or early Friday morning, dropping as much as 30 inches of rain in some areas, says the National Hurricane Center.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million residents of the state's entire eastern coastline to leave their homes starting at noon on Tuesday. Governors in North and SC have declared states of emergency, and President Donald Trump has authorized federal funding and resources to assist with preparation for the storm.

National Hurricane Center says swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast.

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Last week, Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season but was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday.

Storm surges up to 12 feet along the coast and up to 30 inches of rain into next week will also threaten parts of SC and North Carolina in the coming days. Beyond the strength of the storm and the timing of its landfall relative to local high tides - even the stage of the lunar cycle - the storm surge a hurricane produces depends a good deal on layout of the coastal geography and the waters surrounding, what's referred to as the "geomorphology" of the coast. "If you are given an evacuation order, please comply immediately before roads get clogged and chaos commences". Information gathered Tuesday by a hurricane-hunting aircraft suggests it will intensify again as it nears the coast, approaching the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a worst-case Category 5 scenario.

It's important to remember that hurricane forecasts for both track and intensity are still subject to change.

A flawless storm of unfortunate circumstances mean Florence could deal a devastating blow to the Southeast.

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The NHC warned they're likely to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

The storm is expected to threaten the Carolinas and Virginia. "But it's important to remember the impacts of this hurricane will extend far beyond where it makes landfall".

"While the Charlotte area is not completely out of the region that could face the effects of Hurricane Florence, for many of our neighbors to the east it is a safer alternative or a good stopping point as they seek shelter elsewhere", said Greg Walter, executive vice president of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia triggered warnings for multiple Hawaiian islands as it blew west toward an arrival over the state as soon as late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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As Hurricane Florence strengthens to a category 4 storm, Virginia is now bracing for a potentially catastrophic impact.

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