Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its centre, and tropical storm force winds up to 195 miles.
While wind speeds dropped Thursday, forecasters reminded people that what makes Florence extremely risky are the potentially deadly storm surges, the expected mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall.
A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina, and a warning was in effect for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. Then, it will likely hover along the coast on Saturday (Sunday NZT), pushing up to 4m of storm surge and dumping 50 to 75cm of rain on both states, before slogging over the Appalachian Mountains.
Evacuation orders are in place in Virginia and the Carolinas, and about 10 million people are under some kind of weather warning. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.
"Simply put, when you have tens of thousands of people that are trying to get out of harm's way and they're all filling up at the same time, certainly it overwhelms how much gasoline can be stored.at gas stations".
She had been driving since 12:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon from her home on the coast of North Carolina.
Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate. The storm's size and area affected by hazardous winds have actually expanded, and the threat from storm and rain-induced flooding "have not changed" tweeted Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert and former Hurricane Center director. It's expected to make landfall later today. "We've just never seen anything like this".
North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs. Storm surge, the rise in seawater above normally dry land at the coast, could rise a story high.
UPDATED THU 5 A.M. Map shows probable path of Hurricane Florence.; 1c x 2 1/2 inches 46.5 mm x 63
At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency. "It's a big one", he said at the White House. Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.
As of 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, the system was a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, churning slowly about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Services and flights have been suspended on Thursday and Friday at Wilmington International Airport on North Carolina's coast.
Waves crash around the Oceana Pier as the outer edges of Hurricane Florence being to affect the coast in Atlantic Beach on Thursday.
"This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid".
According to a CNN report, their meteorologist Chad Myers said, "I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1".
A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.
"I'm not going to lie: I'm scared", she said.
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Millions prepare as Hurricane Florence approaches Southeast coast of the U.S.
Although Florence was still days from arrival, authorities took extraordinary measures to move people out of harm's way. Kevin Orth loads sandbags into cars in Charleston, SC, as he helps residents prepare for Hurricane Florence .
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