Hurricane Florence is weakening slightly as it continues toward the Carolina coastal areas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, adding that life-threatening storm surge and rainfall were still expected.
It is becoming more certain that Florence will bring a risky storm surge to the Carolina coast and life-threatening flooding farther inland.
With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
Florence is now expected to make a slightly earlier arrival near the border of North and SC early Friday.
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 1.
Coastal North Carolina may receive up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.
The path of Hurricane Florence is still set squarely on the Carolinas, but early Wednesday it shifted south and west, encompassing more of SC and western North Carolina.
Emiratis in Virginia, North and SC areas have been urged to stay alert about the dangers of the fast approaching Hurricane Florence.
Forecasters say those areas could be battered with hurricane conditions for at least 24 hours.
The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 13, 2018. "Disaster is at the doorstep and it's coming in".
Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington states have all already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.
Many didn't realize that a mandatory evacuation had been issued for Wednesday night until they heard police driving through the streets at 8 a.m. telling people over a loudspeaker to evacuate.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).
Emergency preparations in the region included activating over 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.
The governor wants to avoid a repeat of Hurricane Matthew two years ago, which killed 26 North Carolinians.
Though the county is not under a hurricane watch, Tanner said storm predictions were concerning local officials. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".
And if Florence weren't enough, other storms out there are threatening people.
"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, a county commissioner. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together, and that's what we're going to do".