Although Florence weakened to a Category 2hurricane late Wednesday night, the storm is still expected to produce catastrophic flooding throughout the Carolinas when it makes landfall Thursday night or Friday.
What also makes Florence extremely unsafe are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.
"We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful". The projected path shows the storm moving from near Wilmington, North Carolina to near Columbia, South Carolina.
Storm surge warnings were issued from South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina.
As the storm - with those winds - nears shallow water along the coast, its forces water inland. Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting. The power company has warned that up to 3 million people could be left without power for an extended period of time following Hurricane Florence.
The storm's center was about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon. Storm surge, the rise in seawater above normally dry land at the coast, could rise a story high. Author of "The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast".
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.
At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.
Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 110 miles per hour (175 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.
North Carolina has had this problem before.
Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga.
Florence is lashing the state with "heavy rainbands with tropical-storm-force winds spreading across the Outer Banks and Coastal Southeastern North Carolina", the briefing said.
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Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.
The full impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.
Storm surge is deadly. The Charleston area is under a storm surge watch.
Baker said the rain will bring damaging flash flooding to all areas of the Wilmington region, not just low-lying areas that are particularly vulnerable.
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Hurricane Florence intensified Monday, becoming a Category 4 storm , according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). In Guam, Typhoon Mangkhut - a Category 4 storm - narrowly missed dealing a direct blow to the island .
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The hurricane's impacts could range from a strong storm surge to flooding from torrential rainfall and hurricane-force winds. The storm was located roughly 1,170 miles east-southeast of the Cape Fear region, and remained a unsafe Category 4 storm .
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The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm. As of 5 a.m., Florence was centred about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 9 miles per hour.
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