It is predicted the Carolinas could begin feeling tropical storm force winds early Thursday.
After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. This rainfall may cause risky flash flooding, N.H.C. said.
As Graham says, "just because you have a landfall to your south doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system".
"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence.
Tropical-storm force winds have been battering the Outer Banks and SE coastal NC for most of the afternoon, but as Hurricane Florence veers closer to the Carolinas coastline, hurricane-force winds are also inching closer to land.
Isaac became the fifth hurricane of the season late Sunday and was initially expected to strengthen, potentially becoming a Cat 2 storm with 100 miles per hour winds, as it crossed warm ocean waters.
Meanwhile, what could be the world's most risky storm at the moment is Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which now has winds of 165 miles per hour (with 200 miles per hour gusts) and is taking aim on the Philippines, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
The center also warned "catastrophic freshwater flooding expected over portions of North and SC".
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Latest Isaac tropical storm image from Harry Halstrom, Pond Hill forecaster.
The center of Isaac is forecast to pass 109 miles south of St. Croix at 2 a.m. on Friday. "There will be some rain but at the moment it doesn't look as though that's going to be the issue".
However, the center of Florence could hit as early as Thursday night rather than Friday morning, according to the latest NOAA estimates at the time of this writing.
Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.
"This is a life-threatening situation".
Numerous communities throughout the region have issued either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".