'Monster' storm Florence: What you need to know

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images

You may have heard about Hurricane Florence, the storm careering towards the United States east coast prompting warnings of an impending disaster.

Most of those cancellations are tied to the approaching hurricane, now a Category 2 storm with winds expected onshore late Thursday at more than 80 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center's projected track had Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast from Thursday night until landfall Saturday morning or so, about a day later than previously expected. The heaviest rainfall is still expected in South and North Carolina, with upwards of 30 inches of rainfall possible in some locations.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Heed the warnings", said Byard, adding there was "well over $20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is foreboding in his assessment Hurricane Florence.

"That's the primary driver of the evacuations that are underway by the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia right now".

Clearing the roads of hurricane-blown debris could take a couple of days or even weeks, says Dorf, depending on the severity the storm.

According to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) Florence is coming with tropical storm force winds (over 70mph) and will also bring heavy rain bands.

As Florence nears the east coast, meteorologists are focused on two key factors: ocean temperatures and wind sheer (the difference in speeds at the upper and lower parts of the storm). It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina. But it's just good to go ahead and look at it. "It's going to happen". "We've just never seen anything like this".

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

In a press conference on Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said predations were made to accommodate 1 million people leaving the coast, a report by The State said. So we're going to have delayed impacts from this even after landfall on Friday.

Meanwhile, those choosing to ride out the storm in evacuation zones are being told first responders will not be available to help them once Florence makes landfall.

Sandbags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., September 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast. "Kind of like Sandy", said George Kourounis, a storm-chaser from Toronto, who is in Wilmington, N.C. Hurricane Sandy formed in the Atlantic in 2012, hitting Jamaica and the Bahamas as a Category 1.

Kourounis and Robinson have seen their share of hurricanes, many of them together.

On Instagram, parenting blogger Chrissy Marie, based in North Carolina, posted a photo of her kids' hurricane party, complete with bright pink balloons. "People are taking down awnings and U-Haul trucks have come in and take the entire contents of stores".

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