Storm surge could be Hurricane Florence's deadliest, most destructive threat

Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

It is unusual to have such a strong hurricane so far north.

About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states, but some who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival.

The deadliest and most destructive element of any hurricane, the storm surge from Florence could flood tens of thousands of structures, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday. Isaac continues to move westward at 20 miles per hour or 31 km/h.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

Hurricane Florence is forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the US coast, while some weakening is expected on Thursday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Wednesday. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", according to NHC.

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, said Marc Chenard of the US Weather Prediction Centre.

Tropical storm watches are in effect for Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, and Saba and St. Eustatius. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.

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Tropical Storm Isaac appeared "poorly organized" and was weaker on the early morning hours of Wednesday Sep. Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit".

The wide storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and forecasters expect top winds to drop more as it nears the shore, but they're sharing a giant dose of uncertainty.

Little change in strength is forecast during the next few days, but Isaac is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

For its part, the tropical storm Helene, located southwest of the Portuguese Azores, has tilted its course to the north and must be maintained with a similar course and speed of translation over the waters of the eastern Atlantic.

Subtropical Storm Joyce, which formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday, is also not expected to hit the U.S. It is forecast to become a tropical storm in the next day or so while drifting to the southwest.

Isaac is now a Tropical Depression, as a Hurricane hunter heads to investigate the system.

The National Weather Service is predicting "excessive" rainfall totals, potentially up to 40 inches in isolated areas, as Florence comes to crawl off the coast of the Carolinas before making landfall somewhere near the border of the two states.

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