While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC. Tens of thousands were without power. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm Carolina Beach. Heavy rainfall began after dark.
Those surges alone are projected to cause inland flooding of more than 9 feet in cities like New Bern, North Carolina, even without the expected 15 to 20 inches of rain.
Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.
Energy companies have also warned that the storm could knock out power for the foreseeable future in some areas. "Today the threat becomes a reality". The orders affect 1.5 million people, though some have chosen to ignore them. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia.
"The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".
Richard Deakin, head of insurance sales for CoreLogic in New Zealand said: "Whilst our thoughts are obviously very firmly focused on those facing the danger and potential aftermath of Hurricane Florence, it's important to note that United States weather events could impact the premiums that New Zealanders pay on their home insurance".
The station reached 70 million viewers a year ago and averaged more than a million viewers during the week Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Florida. Florence, a storm expected to significantly impact the U.S.
"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says. More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Wilmington resident Julie Terrell was plenty concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.
"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "You can't stop Mother Nature". That is enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.
Officials in the potential path of Florence urged people to evacuate their coastal homes and directed drivers away from the coast. Along the coast, fewer homes have flood insurance than five years ago.
She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.
"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together. A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight". The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.
Florence was about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. And Florence's large wind field will add to the perils as the storm grinds over beaches and inland.
Hurricane Florence is continuing to push towards a landfall around the North Carolina/South Carolina border, and is beginning to lash the central Atlantic seaboard with damaging winds and storm surge.
And of all those, storm surge is the deadliest. As the storm moves inland it will find a relatively flat area for hundreds of miles. Low-income residents and the elderly face disproportionate consequences from lack of food and water, loss of electricity, and other elements indirectly and directly attributable to a hurricane. The latter had to be relocated back to the reserve after the storm.