High-definition video from space shows the extreme power of Hurricane Florence

Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts. The forecast track has the storm stalling along the coast throughout Friday and into Saturday.

The storm's forward motion has slowed 11km/h since Wednesday (local time), which was predicted as the storm nears the coast.

Some ignored warnings, choosing instead to hunker down at home and take their chances. Meteorologist Greg Diamond has noted that areas along the coast of North Carolina on the right side of the storm could experience a significant storm surge through multiple high tide cycles, which would have a cumulative battering effect.

Ten years ago today, Hurricane Ike made landfall as "only" a Category 2 hurricane along Galveston Island near Houston.

Florence is a large storm packing hurricane-force winds that extend about 130 km outward from its centre; tropical storm-force winds extend even further, up to 315 km away. Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them. The National Weather Service said about 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

"Ever stared down the gaping eye of a Category 4 hurricane?"

The latest storm surge has some areas under over 8 feet of water.

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On Instagram, parenting blogger Chrissy Marie, based in North Carolina, posted a photo of her kids' hurricane party, complete with bright pink balloons. The Charleston area is under a storm surge watch.

The simplest, most common metric for the measurement of a storm's intensity is maximum wind speed, and certainly this matters in terms of pure destructive potential when it comes to, say, losing a roof or propelling debris through the air.

The Hurricane Florence has began to unleash fierce rains across the USA southeast.

McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of coastal SC counties on Tuesday. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon. "Once the storm moves further inland to Atlanta and Charlotte, the biggest issue will be rain and thunderstorms", she said. But forecasters also said the opposite could happen when it brushed up against strong wind shear. On Tuesday (September 11), they published a map to their Facebook page showing the extent of the likely wind damage brought to the USA as Florence penetrates the Eastern seaboard.

Outside this zone of destructive winds, damaging winds are still likely, even some distance inland from the coast, which would lead to minor structural damage, downed trees and widespread power outages.

Trucks are rushing into the region to restock store shelves, but Peggy Dorf, a freight and logistics market analyst for DAT Solutions, says they won't be for much longer. As serene as the images are, it's hard to imagine what conditions are like in the storm and on the water under it.

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