Hurricane watches issued on East Coast ahead of Florence

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"This storm is a monster", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a news conference on Tuesday.

After the storm surge comes the deluge of rain.

Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastline as early as Wednesday night, at which point all outdoor preparations should be completed.

Higher sea levels to make a storm surge worse.

"The longer it stays, the more wind, the more rain".

"Mainly in the south-facing beaches, coastal Rhode Island and the Cape and Islands for the south coast", he said.

"The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties", UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl, it could bring torrential rains all the way into the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions in places that have already experienced lots of rain recently. But a computer simulation known as the European model predicts some places could get 45 inches. Some areas had almost 60 inches of rain.

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AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski warned locals to prepare for "feet of rain" similar to those experienced by recent hurricanes such as Lane in Hawaii earlier this summer and Harvey in Texas a year ago. "This is not a pretty sight".

He has also canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.

"We're going to get a lot of rainfall in a relatively short time", he said, adding flooding could be "life-changing" for many. The storm is in the process of undergoing what's called an eyewall replacement cycle, which is breaking down the old eyewall and creating a new one.

"That's going to be the main issue in the Bahamas, as far as anything from Florence".

"This is a very risky hurricane", McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary". But it's such a large storm that the rain will keep coming down in the region no matter where it wanders.

Hurricane-force winds are extending up to 65 kilometres from the storm's centre, while tropical-storm-force winds are blowing out at up to 240 kilometres.

Several spots in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast had one of their wettest summers on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Tremendous amounts of water", Trump said in the Oval Office.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders. The air is holding 10 percent more water that can be dumped as rain.

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