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Visible satellite loop of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 11, 2018 as of 4:05 pm ET. Image: NOAA via CIRA/RAMMB

The latest projections predict Hurricane Florence could stall just off the North Carolina coast, dumping feet of rain inland while sustained hurricane force winds complicate rescue and recovery efforts.

The big picture: "North Carolina has been hit by only one other Category 4 storm since reliable record keeping began in the 1850s. That was Hurricane Hazel in 1954," the AP's Emery Dalesio reports.

  • Trump on the storm: “If you are asked to leave, get out... [Florence will be] tremendously big and tremendously wet — tremendous amount of water.”
  • Trump added that the East Coast won't suffer like Puerto Rico because they are better prepared. “Unlike Puerto Rico they have very strong power companies.”
  • But the president called the federal response to Maria a "tremendous success."

Between the lines: "Just months ago, disaster planners simulated a Category 4 hurricane strike" on the East Coast, the AP's Jeff Martin reports.

  • "A fictional 'Hurricane Cora' barreled into southeast Virginia and up the Chesapeake Bay to strike Washington, D.C." (Hurricane Florence is currently expected to make landfall to the south, in North Carolina.)
  • "The result was catastrophic damage, which has some experts concerned that Hurricane Florence could produce a disaster comparable to 2005′s Hurricane Katrina..."
  • "Evacuation is known to be challenging in Hampton Roads, a coastal region inhabited by 1.7 million people in cities such as Norfolk, Virginia, and Virginia Beach."
  • "In Charleston, South Carolina, where the average elevation is only around 11 feet (3.4 meters) above sea level, storm surge and flooding from a hurricane’s drenching rain has the same effect — cutting off access, said Norman Levine, an associate professor at the College of Charleston."

What to expect from Hurricane Florence:

  • Storm surge: Depending on the landfall location, Hurricane Florence is likely to bring a devastating storm surge to the Carolinas, possibly exceeding 15 to 20 feet, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
  • Damaging winds: A relatively small area of the coastline will experience the worst of the storm's winds, but a large area will still see a long duration of damaging winds from Florence. "Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months," according to the NWS' Wilmington office.
  • Inland flooding: The greatest risk from Hurricane Florence is its rainfall potential, both near the coast and inland. This is due to the storm's slow forward speed.

Go deeper: More Hurricane Florence coverage, updated as we learn more

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.