Stunning Weather Channel Video Shows Why Storm Surges Are So Dangerous

Hurricane Florence

2 p.m. update: Florence within 110 miles of Wilmington

In a new demonstration of the network's CGI capabilities, hosts have presented from the centre of a digital storm surge to demonstrate the hurricane's damaging potential.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern.

Corps staff worked with Army officials to review dams at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in SC to "ensure any effects of Florence on those dams are mitigated", said Ray Alexander, the Corps' inter-agency services chief.

Florence has already inundated coastal streets with ocean water and forecasters say that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

Another 150 people were trapped 30 miles away in New Bern, North Carolina, near the mouth of the Neuse River, after waters rose 10 foot (3m).

Cooper said 108 shelters are open across the state, with more than 7,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday afternoon. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. Here's why this storm threatens not only the coast but millions of people inland.

"This is a very risky storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground.

Florence, a storm expected to significantly impact the U.S.

South Carolina's state capital Columbia is at only 89m (292ft).

Some Carolinians have expressed frustration after evacuating their homes for a storm that was later downgraded - but officials have pushed back at suggestions that Florence's threat has been exaggerated.

As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles east of Wilmington, N.C. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 mph.

Florence could bring wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres and NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook they could push in as far as three kilometres.

Forecasters expect Florence to hit the Carolinas early in the morning on September 14.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 100 miles (155 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.

He also disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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