Lapse footage captured hurricane-hunting plane fly through Florence

'This is a big storm': Results could be catastrophic

On Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center issues storm surge warnings for the areas around the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the South Santee River in SC.

Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center.

Officials say Hurricane Florence is likely to make landfall in southeastern North Carolina near the SC border. The last Category 4 hurricane to plow directly into North Carolina was Hazel in 1954, a devastating storm that killed 19 people and destroyed some 15,000 homes.

The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet (2.75 meters) of water in spots, projections showed.

The hurricane center's projected track previously had Florence charging into the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Waves 83 feet high were measured near the eye of Florence, according to a tweet from the National Hurricane Center.

Some areas could get deluged with 20 inches of rain, Myers said. So we could have two landfalls - one around Wilmington and then one near Myrtle Beach or even south of there.

North Carolina is the country's leading producer of tobacco, second-biggest producer of hogs and a major poultry producer.

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Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Outer Banks as Florence continued its push west as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday, The News & Observer reported. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence. "That's our worst concern at this point is the rain and the flooding that we may see this weekend".

"This morning I drove around for an hour looking for gas in Cary".

While a man who gave his name as Joe, a contractor from Carolina, admitted he was "scared" but said he had survived storms before and was determined to make it through this one. "A lot of local people are staying", she said of the island, which is reachable only by ferry or plane.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

A top FEMA official attempted Wednesday to warn people in the path of Hurricane Florence but instead had to shoot down reporters' questions about whether the Trump administration wasted disaster funds on its illegal immigration agenda.

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.

Based on the current forecast track, here is what to expect...

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