Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 165 kph after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC.
Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.
"A weak Category 3 and a strong Category 2 are pretty close to each other, if you just think about category".
Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days. "Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall expected". For comparison, Hurricane Irene caused a 7-foot surge in 2011, and Hurricane Hazel caused an 18-foot surge in Calabash and Carolina Shores in 1954. Projections as of 5:00am EST on September 13, 2018.
"The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline", according to the National Hurricane Center.
Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head, N.C., on September 13 as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast.
One of the main threats across the southeast is flooding.
The storm is expected to affect airports in Georgia and Virginia. That makes it hard to project how the region will ultimately be affected.
A North Carolina city situated between two rivers says it has around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence.
National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said North Carolina is likely to see eight months' worth of rain in two to three days. His group, the Office of Water Prediction and Luettich's team are working together to build such models now.
General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 USA military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.
There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey previous year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.
A man waves the United States national flag in the wind and rain from from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 13, 2018.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools canceled classes Thursday and Friday ahead of Hurricane Florence. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill.
"There definitely is a risk, but the horses are smart".
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.