According to meteorologists, Florence could be quite deadly-and with climate change making hurricanes more common and more catastrophic, there are going to be a lot more storms like Florence.
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.
Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.
St. Joseph's/Candler had agreed to take 10 patients from Hilton Head Hospital, but didn't need to after the evacuation order was lifted for those three counties, spokesman Scott Larson wrote in an email. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour.
"I'm not anxious at all", said Richard Ford, 34, smoking a cigarette outside one of Wilmington's five shelters. They said the military had made sites, including Fort Bragg, North Carolina, available to FEMA as staging areas for relief equipment and had put helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles at the ready in different sites in the southeast for search and rescue use.
In Shallotte, N.C., a coastal town near the border with SC, emergency orders forced a Waffle House to shut down - an act that was widely seen as a sign of respect for Florence's imposing size and strength.
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The National Hurricane Center said early Friday that Florence's eyewall is beginning to approach the North Carolina coast bringing with it life-threatening storm surge.
More than 10 million people are under watches and warnings, the Associated Pressreported.
North Carolina has opened over 100 shelters and Charlotte cancelled school so that five of them could be turned into shelters for evacuees and residents should flooding become a problem. After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria. They've also been praying, singing songs in their native language.
Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios, medications, water and food on hand, Hayes said.
"We try to facilitate. anything that makes a smooth transition from home to shelter", he said. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike.
Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. From east to west, the community is less than a dozen blocks deep, with the Atlantic on one side and the Cape Fear River on the other.
Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more". Both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters for people caught by the storm.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
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Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did. About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
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Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles. Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.
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