The storm was about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 470 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Actually when you have a strengthening storm that is making landfall is even more unsafe.
Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
At this time the storm surge, where winds and the mass of the storm push water forward over beaches and anything that is within 15 - 20 feet from sea level.
The result could be what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farms and industrial sites.
However, a Cat 2 storm's wind speed is "extremely risky", according to the National Hurricane Center, capable of ripping trees from the ground, wreaking major roof damage on homes and causing power outages that may last weeks and affect three million households. Hurricane Florence deserves all the names it's being called as it threatens to cause historic flooding, blow catastrophic winds and idle for days over the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic.
When it reaches the coastline, it could sit around for days, unloading life-threatening storm surge, risky winds and flooding rain.
Yesterday, President Trump claimed politicians and people on the ground were praising the preparations made by his administration.
"Don't play games with it". Forecasters say 40 inches (one meter) of rain are possible along the coast of North Carolina.
It's unclear exactly how many people evacuated, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
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As Hurricane Florence charges toward the Carolinas, airlines are issuing warnings about thousands of flights experiencing delays or cancellations, and giving out waivers to affected travelers. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers and sent in around 1,100 trucks to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.
A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina.
"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.
Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.
Bertha Bradley said she has never favoured evacuating ahead of hurricanes. This one actually shows a landfall on Friday, and then lingering, stalling in North Carolina and parts of SC. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.
He said during a reception for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients at the White House: 'We're getting tremendous accolades from politicians and the people but we are ready'.
"I said, 'Why get on the road like this?"
Some Florence evacuees are steering toward Bristol Motor Speedway near the Tennessee-Virginia border and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where campgrounds have been opened for people fleeing the storm.
To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".
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