"Now is the time to shelter from life-threatening wind", the agency added.

In the North Carolina town of Rodanthe, on Hatteras Island, Rebecca Well Hooper shot video of the pier early Thursday afternoon. That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team help people to higher ground after rescuing them from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence in James City, North Carolina.

-Size: Hurricane-force winds extend up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles. These unforgiving winds will damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.


Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained unsafe and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Widespread rainfall amounts could reach 152mm to 300mm, spurring flooding. Expect wind and rain through the weekend.

As of 8am local time (midnight Friday NZT) it was centred about 275km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 355km east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 20kmh. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit. Storm surge warnings, hurricane warnings, and tropical storm warnings are in effect along the coast of the Carolinas. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area. "Heed any flood watches and warnings".

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with weathermodels.com, warns that up to 10 trillion gallons of rain could fall on North Carolina from Florence.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. Florence is being trailed in the Atlantic by two other storms - Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac. However, the surge is expected to be accompanied by large and destructive waves, regardless of when the storm arrives.

SC authorities reported one death.


"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned. In addition, the rain forecast has remained unchanged too as the potential for locally 30"+ of rain is there over parts of southeast North Carolina".

The strongest winds will occur where and when the storm makes landfall in a ring around the calm eye of the storm known as the eyewall.

The zone where these intense winds occur will be narrow and they will last just a few hours, but the effects will probably be severe, similar to a tornado.

In east Kinston, not far from one of the city's subsidized housing developments, Michael Weathington, 53, sat waiting for a ride on the porch of his home - a humble abode of whitewashed wooden siding beneath a rust-tinged metal roof. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

Florence is expected to crawl near or along the coast of the Carolinas through Friday. In other words, this hurricane will basically stall - pounding the same parts of the Carolinas over and over again.


Models agree the storm should strike land between the North Carolina-South Carolina border and the North Carolina Outer Banks, and then track across South Carolina.

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