The center of the massive storm is then forecast to meander Thursday, Friday and Saturday over a stretch of coastline saturated by rising seas, inundating several states with rainfall and triggering life-threatening floods.
The size of
"We could cover several states easily with the cloud cover alone," Graham said. "This is not just a coastal event."
Rainfall will be extremely heavy, dumping up to 10 to 20 inches over the next 7 days over much of
"The water could overtake some of these barrier islands and keep on going. With time, the wind pushes the water into every nook and cranny you can think of," Graham said. "All you have to do is look up at your ceiling, and think about 12 feet (of floodwater). That, folks, is extremely life-threatening."
The very center of that bullseye may be
"Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!" tweeted President
Tuesday's 7-day rainfall forecast showed 20 inches or more falling there, part of a wide swath of rainfall that could total ten inches or more over much of
Watches were in effect Tuesday for a storm surge that could reach up to 12 feet at high tide on a stretch from
For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains all the way into the Appalachian mountains and as far away as
"This is going to produce heavy rainfall, and it may not move very fast. The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at
A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and this area of the ocean is seeing temperatures peak near 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist
"Unfortunately, the models were right.
Two other storms were spinning in the
In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again on a path to hit the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday.
Airlines, including American,
"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction," she said. "There is no way to be completely safe."
But, she added, she's not sure whether going inland would be much safer: "I don't know where to go from here."
For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes .