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The National Hurricane Center says "a life-threatening storm surge is now likely" along the North and South Carolina coasts as Hurricane Florence approaches the U.S. eastern seaboard. The center of the storm is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast by Friday.
Heavy bands of rain and tropical storm force winds are sweeping across the barrier islands off North Carolina and along the southeastern coast of the state. The storm is expected to linger, dumping several centimeters of rain in affected areas and causing widespread destruction. Weather forecasters also warn that the threat of tornadoes is increasing as the system draws closer to land.
Even though Florence has weakened to a Category 2 system with winds of 165 kilometers per hour, forecasters say the storm remains a destructive force.