Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head

The National Hurricane Center says "a life-threatening storm surge is now likely" along the North and SC coasts as Hurricane Florence approaches the USA eastern seaboard. More flights were expected to be grounded and more airports were preparing to shut down operations as the storm moves inland.

Florence is also expected to lose speed and "hover" once it reaches the coast, which will intensify the impacts of its heavy rainfall and storm surges, Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), said in a Facebook Live update earlier today.

It was located 575 miles (925 kms) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 mph (28 kph) in a west-northwest direction.

O'Shaughnessy, head of US Northern Command, said search and rescue would be a top priority, but weather may prevent rescuers from getting in during the hours immediately after the storm hits.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. Residents should expect to see higher tides than usual on the James and York rivers, as well as possible flooding and beach erosion. "He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said.

Visualizations developed by Global News showed just how many there were around the globe as of September 13.

FEMA chief Brock Long botched the name of the hurricane threatening the East Coast Thursday while denying allegations of his own misuse of government cars - saying he was "100 per cent" focused on the storm.

"I'm not going to lie: I'm scared", she said.

"You put your life at risk by staying", Cooper said. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon. Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage. And Florence's large wind field will add to the perils as the storm grinds over beaches and inland.

While there remains some uncertainty around Hurricane Florence's exact path, one thing does seem certain: it will dump potentially historic rainfall amounts. Being able to analyze the weather and future climate of an area using the physically-based techniques proposed by Emanuel could enable better decision-making with respect to land development. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. A lot of people hearing this are remembering Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. Will the winds be that strong or they'll be stronger when they get here than that?

"The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years", said Howard Fowler, Duke Energy's incident commander.