Winds from Florence moving ashore at North Carolina Outer Banks: NHC

Even in downgrading Florence which is expected to crash into the Carolinas late Thursday night or early Friday the National Hurricane Center predicted “life-threatening storm surge,” “catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flo

Even in downgrading Florence which is expected to crash into the Carolinas late Thursday night or early Friday the National Hurricane Center predicted “life-threatening storm surge,” “catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flo

The clip shows water pouring down a street in the Outer Banks, leading to a damaged pier.

Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft (3m) in places.

Forecasters say the storm surge, together with up to 3.5ft (1m) of rain over the next few days, could spawn a slow-motion disaster.

But forecasters have warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day - will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours. On top of that, a disastrous amount of rain - 500mm, possibly even as much as 1m - is expected to fall.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km)".

Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the coast of the Carolinas as a powerful Category 2 hurricane. Coastal storm surge is expected to be as high as 13 feet, according to the National Hurricane Center.

St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma past year.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centred about 230km southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 17km/h. It's moving toward the coast at a speed of 12mph.

Florence is already making its presence felt along the coast of North Carolina. Of course, coupled with what could be tropical storm force wind gusts arriving as early as late tonight, there will likely be some trees knocked down as soils become quickly saturated.

It was causing a life-threatening storm surge in parts of eastern North Carolina.

A storm surge watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The strongest winds will occur where and when the storm makes landfall in a ring around the calm eye of the storm known as the eyewall.

Meanwhile, winds and rain were expected to arrive later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., wrote Tuesday, "and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew". Heavy rains are expected to move in late Saturday night through Monday.

Elder relatives carry as much weight as meteorologists in a tight-knit community of slave descendants on the SC coast.