More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught would last for hours and hours because Florence was barely creeping along at 6 mph (9 kph) and still drawing energy from the ocean. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, and a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain, authorities said. "You never know where there are active downed power lines that could cause an electric situation", Parker says.
"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the NWS report said.
"Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week". The storm is expected to crawl into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday, punishing the area over and over with rain and damaging winds.
"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.
Hurricane Florence slowed dramatically as it approached shallower waters along the coast, dropping from a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour (209 km/h) winds on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to a Category 2 Thursday.
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.
Hurricane Florence approaches the U.S. Southeast Coast, where it is expected to make landfall on the border between North and SC this morning (Sept. 14), according to NOAA.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.
By Friday, September 14, CNN reported that hurricane Florence already forced 26,000 people into more than 200 emergency shelters across the Carolinas, stopped power to more than 620,000 customers, and prompted 4,000 National Guard soldiers and 40,000 electric workers to mobilize in response.
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In the 5 a.m. ET advisory, Florence was 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 15 mph.
"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.
In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.
"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Thousands of people hunkered down in schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centres were moved out of the storm's path.
"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.