The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.
Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.
Forecast models predict Florence's center may slow to a crawl just off North Carolina early Friday and make a southwesterly turn - punishing the coast while moving perhaps only 2 to 3 miles per hour.
Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.
"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said.
You can also review the South Carolina Emergency Management Division's checklist for preparation. "Once these winds start blowing at that tropical storm rate, it will be virtually impossible for the rescuers to get in to rescue you".
About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported. More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands moved to emergency shelters, officials said.
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The storm's center was about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon. "It can still bring a massive storm surge ashore". Author of "The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast". The outer rain bands from Hurricane Florence have begun to come ashore in North Carolina.
US President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way.
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. Currently, the hurricane-force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 200 miles from the eye.
Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga. Storm surge warnings indicate a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the coming 36 hours.
Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.
Maryland's largest natural gas and electric company, BGE, said it was also preparing for the storm. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas". And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports. The effects of torrential rain are devastating, costly, and deadly, especially in urban areas where concrete comprises the basis of most structures and makes it incredibly hard for water to drain.
An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the US Weather Prediction Centre.