One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track, but kept it north of what most computer models were showing, to provide some continuity with past forecasts.
Waves slam the Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, NC, on Thursday.
"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the NHC said.
"The weather is a visceral, physical thing, and we're trying to recreate that in the most realistic way possible", The Weather Channel'svice president of design Michael Potts told The Verge.
"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.
He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out.
New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School.
In the meantime, "treat the inland flooding just as seriously as you would the storm surge", said Clark. Fortunately for House, he says this storm should not be a devastating event for the beach town in terms of loss of life.
Little change in strength was expected before Florence moves inland, according to the NHC.
As of late Thursday, the hurricane center said Florence was 95 kilometers southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, with top sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (90 mph).
"Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week".
He continued: "We have the situation that has developed here at the station and that is water is getting close to the building".
As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system. Between both Carolinas, there is a total of 6,400 guardsmen on duty ahead of the storm. And while he's managed to pull tobacco leaves from the field, he's concerned because they require curing in a barn with power.
Forecast models suggest the heaviest rain will focus near the coast around the SC and North Carolina border.
"You can see there's fish floating around in here.
We're here even though are hearts are in North Carolina".
Hurricane Florence was more recently downgraded to a Category 2 storm. The path may affect more than 4000 manufacturing and distribution facilities, potentially hurting sectors including auto-parts and packaged foods, according to Bloomberg Supply Chain data.
A disastrous amount of rain will exacerbate the storm surge.
At 4 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said Florence's eyewall was beginning to hit the North Carolina coast.
Given the storm's size and slow speed, officials warned that Florence could cause similar large-scale flood damage to that seen in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago.