Police chief warns: No one to call in the storm

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"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft along with satellite imagery and various intensity estimates indicate that Florence has weakened instead of strengthening".

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC. He also said power could be out for a long time and suggested residents think now about what they will need power for. Florence is now expected to begin delivering tropical storm-force winds in the region by early Thursday, escalating to hurricane-force winds by late Thursday or early Friday. "I'm going to Charlotte".

After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.

"Sometime Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning", Goldstein said. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the National Hurricane Center said. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through the streets of Hatteras Village, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

But the mayor says she knows many people are ignoring evacuation orders. "Your time is running out".

Janey Camp, a research associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University, said the "biggest concern" for those not along the coast "is the deluge of precipitation that comes with" hurricanes. Forecasters say 40 inches (one meter) of rain are possible along the coast of North Carolina.

Between 1 and 3 million people could lose power in the Carolinas in the wake of Hurricane Florence, according to Duke Energy.

Any "flooding will be worse around high tide, and a slow-moving storm will stick around for at least one tide cycle", explained McNoldy.

Despite pleas from state and local officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

A state of emergency has been declared North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and residents race to evacuate areas at high risk of devastation. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track, but kept it north of what most computer models were showing, to provide some continuity with past forecasts.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., wrote Tuesday, "and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew".

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