‘Storm of a Lifetime’ Hurricane Florence Expected to Bring Catastrophic Flooding to Southeast

Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane? It’s chilling, even from space. #HurricaneFlorence #Horizons
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Hurricane Florence is expected to bring catastrophic flooding to the Southeast and may dump as much as 40 inches of rain in North Carolina alone.

Florence is creating 83 foot waves in the open ocean though the waves are not expected to reach anywhere near the shore, the National Hurricane Center said.

“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew,” according to one National Weather Service meteorologist in Wilmington, North Carolina. “I can’t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm.”

With the storm not making landfall until the weekend, residents in at least three states have more time to evacuate and prepare.

Here is the latest:

— Florence is a dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

— The path, intensity and timing is likely to keep changing throughout Wednesday but the latest forecast from the National Weather Service shows Florence no longer reaching Category 5 status — that is with winds of 145 mph.

— Overnight the storm shifted south, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

— “The question is whether it will continue to do that today,” Long said. “This is a highly dynamic situation that requires constant monitoring.”

— The latest trajectory shows Florence beginning to slow down on Thursday.

— Because of that slowdown, rainfall totals will be even higher than previously forecast. The southeast coast of North Carolina could see as much as 40 inches of rain — in line with the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey last year in the Houston area.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Max Golembo, Morgan Winsor and Emily Shapiro