Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

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Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

All of the areas where calls for help have come were under mandatory evacuation orders beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. And although Maryland is forecast to largely escape the wrath of Florence, the zoo is preparing to keep animals safe should the storm turn north.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out. On the James River, waves are expected to be about 1 foot though Sunday.

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And Hurricane Florence, though far from the fastest-windspeed storm in recent memory, remains a significant threat precisely due to the large surge and huge rainfall it's dumping on affected areas.

He said during a reception for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients at the White House: 'We're getting tremendous accolades from politicians and the people but we are ready'.

The National Hurricane Center said there was more than 10 feet (3 meters) of inundation in New Bern.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

The simulation even includes a vehicle floating behind her as Navarro warns that rising water levels "could even float some cars". Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks. "A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight".

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More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands have moved to emergency shelters. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometers).

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida a year ago, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.

The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm. First responders urge residents to get out though, because this storm is unlike the others.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's going to get worse", he said at a news conference in Raleigh.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

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"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

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