Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan reported live Thursday evening from North Topsail Beach, N.C., as winds whipped up and the surf roared behind him from the incoming Hurricane Florence.

Harrigan said Florence could prove to be a "knockout blow" for much of the Carolinas.

"It's just a waiting game now as we wait for some really rough weather overnight," he said, adding that a recent official weather report referenced possible "total inundation" of coastal Carolina.

The latest National Hurricane Center update showed that where Harrigan stood, near the Pender/Onslow County line, 20 to 40 inches of rain are expected to fall as Florence makes landfall.

One barrier island to the north, Leland Vittert reported from Atlantic Beach, near Fort Macon on Bogue Banks.

Vittert said that instead of acting as a barrier to storm surge from the hurricane, strips of land like the Bogue Banks are acting "like a funnel" to push water up into Bogue Sound and the Neuse River.

Fox News' real-time wind reports showed sustained winds of 52 miles an hour in Emerald Isle -- the beach town farther up Highway 58 on the opposite end of the 22-mile-long island from Vittert.

In Emerald Isle, town officials expect the B. Cameron Langston Bridge, which carries 58 onto the island from mainland Cape Carteret to "be closed for days" after Florence comes through, according to WITN.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said at his 5 p.m. news conference that flooding had already begun to affect areas inland from the Bogue Sound.

Cooper said water levels were also rising quickly on the Neuse, which flows into the ocean near Vittert's position, roughly following US Highway 70 -- passing through Raleigh, Goldsboro and Kinston.


Ken Graham of the National Hurricane Center said during his update that up to 20 inches of rain could be felt in proximate inland areas like those over the next day or so, with his map showing one to four inches expected in places as far inland as Greer, South Carolina,  Asheville, North Carolina, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

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There was also "extreme concern" with storm surge in the Pamlico Sound. The Tar River and Pamlico River that feed the sound were expecting rising water levels as well.

Cities like Rocky Mount, Greenville and Washington, N.C. could be affected by heavy rains and rising waters in the Tar-Pamlico Basin.

Cooper also said some places along N.C. Hwy. 12, which runs along the Outer Banks, from Corolla through Hatteras Village to Cedar Island, is also being affected by "seawater flowing through streets like rivers."

Watch more above.

Hurricane Florence: Special LIVE Coverage Overnight Friday on Fox News Channel

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