Hurricane Florence, on its way across the Atlantic Ocean toward North Carolina, dominates photos and video from the International Space Station, where astronauts are using wide-angle lenses because of how far the storm extends. The storm is expected to slowly move inland, battering much of the U.S. coast for days.
While Florence is no longer considered a major hurricane, its reach has expanded, threatening residents from Georgia to Virginia.
The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia. But authorities warned Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely risky.
More than 10 million people are under a storm watch or warning in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".
Isaac Ginis, a hurricane expert at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, said that with rising temperatures, hurricanes are likely to become more intense, bring more rain and pose more risks to coastal areas from higher seas and bigger storm surges and waves.
"I'm very concerned about this storm", Cooper said.
It was located about 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles (405 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving to the northwest at 15 mph. Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies.
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 White House has approved requests from North Carolina and SC for federal emergency declarations, allowing for greater coordination among states and federal agencies.
"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said.
"I can't emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm".
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.
Coincidentally that was the same year the Carolinas were devastated by another powerful hurricane: Hurricane Floyd.
Storms have previously battered North and South Carolina - Hurricane Hugo in 1989 was particularly severe - but storms of Florence's scope, with winds of upwards of 130mph, are rare in this region.