Don't Be Fooled by Hurricane Florence Being 'Downgraded.' It's Still Very Dangerous

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Florence, a storm expected to significantly impact the U.S.

Although Florence has recently been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it's still set to be devastating.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". But Luettich said it is still not well understood how factors like rain accumulation and land saturation affect river and coastal flooding during major storm events. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water".

At last report, the storm was about 180 kilometers east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 270 kilometers east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The storm will have winds in the 110 miles per hour range. "All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come". The warning also includes Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, large bodies of water in North Carolina that could also see significant flooding.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that it could be centered over southwestern Pennsylvania by early Tuesday morning, potentially bringing more rain to Maryland and another surge of floodwaters down an already swollen Susquehanna River. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit, or prepare for the worst.

The hurricane centre also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as the storm neared shore. But even much lower flood levels can be unsafe and reach surprisingly far inland, as The Weather Channel demonstrated in a stunning video released today.

Forecasters say Florence will likely turn to the west-northwest and west and slow down its forward motion - a situation that will bring even more rainfall to the area.

That said, the storm is still expected to stall once it hits the Wilmington coast, with weather officials early Thursday raising the expected total rainfall for Wilmington to 35 inches - weather officials had predicted 30 inches for Wilmington in briefings released Wednesday.

As the storm continues toward Southeastern North Carolina, it will bring life-threatening storm surges, flooding and risky waves to the coast, the briefing said.

Another video from NOAA's GOES-East weather satellite caught a different view of Hurricane Florence.

The latest rainfall projections warn of 20-40 inches of rain from coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC - amounts that could bring "catastrophic flash flooding", the hurricane center said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, that a "historic storm" would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state.

By the time the storm leaves the region, forecasters expect that it will have dumped 50 to 70 centimeters of rain in coastal areas, with some parts possibly being inundated with up to 100 centimeters.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this image of Hurricane Florence from the space station on September 12, 2018.