Watch Water Surge on North Carolina Coast as Hurricane Florence Approaches

Videos of Hurricane Florence causing devastating damage along the North Carolina coast have already started to surface, showing water covering streets and flooding buildings.

Photographer Jenni Koontz posted several videos of water surging through Avon, a small community on the coast in the Outer Banks. One video shows Route 12 completely underwater, while another showed how high tide was hitting the Cape Hatteras Hotel.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, parts NC 12 has been shut down, leaving Hatteras Island cut off.

"Everybody's worried about the roads. This is the first time I have left for a storm. I was not going to leave until they said it was going to stall," Chip Stevens of Ocracoke told the Virginian-Pilot.

"This is going to be an ocean overwash event," Dare County manager Bobby Outten said.

Florence is poised to make landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 storm late Thursday into Friday. In its 2 p.m. ET public advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the storm has a maximum sustained wind of 105 mph. The NHC also warns of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall." Storm surge warnings are already in effect for South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina.

"This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials," the NHC said of storm surge warnings.

While the storm's category 2 status may get the most attention, meteorologists and officials said it was still important for residents to heed warnings because the storm surge is "the most dangers part of the storm," NBC News' Al Roker said.

"Just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity came down to a Category 2, please do not let your guard down," Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long said Thursday morning. "The storm surge forecast with this storm has not changed."

Forecasters are expecting feet or rain, not inches, in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Long said.

"The infrastructure is going to break. The power is going to go out. It could go out for a number of days, it could go out for weeks. It's very hard to say at this point," Long explained.

More than 10 million people could face dangerous conditions from Florence, according to officials. Evacuation zones in the Carolinas and Virginia cover around 1.7 million people.

The NOAA defines storm surge as "the abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide. The surge is caused primarily by a storm's winds pushing water onshore."


Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images