The Carolinas haven't dealt with a storm as strong as Hurricane Florence in decades.
The storm's eye was about 145 miles southeast of Wilmington as of 11 a.m., the briefing said. FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result. Hurricane-force winds were blowing 130 km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 315km from the eye.
"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.
"Just because we have a landfall to the south doesn't mean your out of the woods because the wind around this storm is huge", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said Wednesday morning.
At least 800 flights have been cancelled or grounded due to the storm's expected landfall, CNN reported.
With their entire neighbourhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.
"Think of it like a marathon", said Mark Robinson, from The Weather Network, also in Wilmington with Kourounis. "We're about to be in the thick of it".
The storm fell to a Category 2 Wednesday night, but faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes. I had to make sure today was Thursday because all of the days seem to run together.
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"The Medical University of South Carolina Hospital says they are prepared to care for their patients". Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. "It's something we haven't seen. ever". It's already been raining in these areas and the ground is sodden. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave". Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going.
Local utility crews are traveling east to the North Carolina coast to help with restoration efforts in preparation for large numbers of power outages caused by Hurricane Florence.
Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph). It is now heading towards the US East Coast that it is predicted to hit on Friday.
The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge.
"This is a life-threatening situation".
A storm surge watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC, and for north of Duck, NC, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".