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. The storm, which is expected to be one of the biggest to ever hit North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Virginia, should be making landfall sometime this weekend.
Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".
But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.
The center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Wednesday night, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday, NHC said.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably a 7" in terms of worry, she said. But Hurricane Florence is just the start.
He said the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of the state-activated National Guard troops. "Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected". "And you don't need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth. One emergency official said it will be a "Mike Tyson punch" to the area. The projected path shows the storm moving from near Wilmington, North Carolina to near Columbia, South Carolina.
There are, in fact, 10 of them - and Florence isn't even the most risky one. It's moving at 15 miles per hour, but as it nears the Carolina coast, it will dramatically slow down.
That amount of storm surge would put Florence on par with Hurricane Fran. The number one network in cable, FNC has been the most watched television news channel for more than 16 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is the most trusted television news source in the country.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached Wilmington, with weather officials saying the storm will bring unprecedented rain to the region.
As of Thursday morning, Florence has lost some power, changing from a Category 4 to a Category 2 storm.
The storm will slow down because of pushback from a trough - an extended area of low atmospheric pressure - now over Texas, Stacy Stewart, an NHC senior hurricane specialist, said in the update. As the storm moves inland it will find a relatively flat area for hundreds of miles. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", the hurricane center briefing said.
Forecasters expect Florence to hit the Carolinas early in the morning on September 14. Will the winds be that strong or they'll be stronger when they get here than that?