Pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air. It's estimated that 1 million people will be impacted by Florence's arrival. As of now, Florence is due to make landfall very early Friday morning, somewhere in the Carolinas.
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If the track shifts farther south, impacts could worsen to include storm surge inundation, damaging winds and excessive rainfall.
It's all eyes on Hurricane Florence over the next several days.
Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.
More than 485,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.
Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 3 storm on Wednesday as peak winds eased to 125 miles per hour (205 kilometers per hour), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.
More than 400 hundred officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will be stationed in the coastal areas to help assists evacuation and protect property.
The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro. "Trees are blowing down in the wind". They are now flying into Isaac and also have a plane ready for storm recovery after Florence hits.
While one stated: 'It takes a massive hurricane and a national weather services's poorly designed graphics to unite the smartasses of America. Eastern, Sept. 12, 2018, as illustrated by the National Hurricane Center. At this time, the outer eyewall of Florence was making landfall in the the area of Wilmington, N.C.as a Category 1 hurricane.
The NHC reports that "this is a life threatening situation" as the Carolina coasts and Virginia anticipate "catastrophic flash flooding", as well as significant river flooding. "It's going to destroy homes", said Jeff Byard, an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies.
"If you're uncomfortable, if you had damage during Irma or Matthew, you may want to consider leaving", Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
Prisoners were affected, too.
Those warily watching Florence have compared it to Hurricanes Fran and Hugo, which pummeled North Carolina and SC, respectively, more than two decades ago. Tropical storm conditions could develop in the West Point area Thursday.
North Carolina's governor issued what he called a first-of-its-kind mandatory evacuation order for North Carolina's fragile barrier islands from one end of the coast to the other.
The National Hurricane Center Tuesday afternoon increased its rainfall forecast to 15-25 inches of rain with 35 inches in isolated spots. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said.