'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

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Cpl. Thomas Vest with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said extra officers will be working for the storm.

The official noted that up to one million residents in North Carolina have been told to evacuate, and stressed that it is not too late to leave now.

"If you are under an evacuation order and you haven't left, the time to leave is now". "They're our responsibility", he said.

On Wednesday morning, the storm was about 550 miles from the Carolina coast and remains a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds.

Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area.

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely risky and life-threatening storm. For the Carolinas, the NHC predicts a "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia. Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"The biggest challenge has been the amount and rapid succession of unprecedented disasters", she said.

Shelves at a store in Raleigh, North Carolina, emptied of supplies as people stock up ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally risky to be outside, Graham said.

"The preparation has been done and now it's up to mother nature as to what happens", he said.

"It does look a bit similar to Harvey in a sense that it goes roaring into shore and then comes to a screeching stop", said MIT meteorology professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel. The local adult-services department and the Area Agency on Aging has been in touch with each senior facilities as well, county public information officer Kathryn Murphy said, and has helped them decide whether and how to plan for the hurricane.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station on September 12, 2018.

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