12 September, 2018
Beyond the strength of the storm and the timing of its landfall relative to local high tides - even the stage of the lunar cycle - the storm surge a hurricane produces depends a good deal on layout of the coastal geography and the waters surrounding, what's referred to as the "geomorphology" of the coast.
- Up to 15 inches - for much of northern Virginia and nearly all of the state's eastern half.
Despite the storm being still some distance away from land, the National Hurricane Center has confirmed it is on track to hit the area around North and SC by Friday.
The storm was around 400 miles south of Bermuda on Tuesday afternoon and is trudging towards the east coast at 16mph.
The eye of the massive storm is forecast to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday along a stretch of coastline already saturated by rising seas, and then meander for days.
"It's an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane. the forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain".
Two tropical storms are following behind it: Isaac and Helene. Their maximum storm surges were 15 to 20 feet and 18 to 20 feet, respectively.
"However, as it continues to intensify, it's going to create large swells that will propagate into the Bahamas and create much higher than normal surf", Mr Kottlowski said.
"With time, the wind pushes the water into every nook and cranny you can think of".
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"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", President Donald Trump warned on Twitter.
The Pentagon said Monday it has sent an advance military team to an emergency operations center in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners in relief efforts.
Cooper and his counterparts in neighbouring SC and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands that protect North Carolina's shore.
The weather system is now a category four storm carrying sustained winds of about 215km/h.
Since then, the coastal population has grown by thousands of people.
"As this weather system moves westward across the tropics, warm ocean air rises into the storm, forming an area of low pressure underneath", the NOAA adds.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge watch, extending from Edisto Beach, South Carolina up through the North Carolina-Virginia border.
The agency has warned of "life-threatening" storm surges along the south-eastern seaboard and freshwater flooding due to a "prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event".
Rainfall will be very heavy north of the storm.
Those in Florence's path weren't wasting time on Monday.