Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head

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This satellite image show the sun rising on the storm Thursday morning.

Hurricane Florence has weakened to a Category 2 storm as it approaches landfall in the United States - but it is very slow moving and could linger the coastline bringing catastrophic flooding and heavy losses to insurers.

As of 8 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles (355 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland.

Monster storm Hurricane Florence is barreling closer to the coast of the Carolinas. More than four million people live in areas at most risk from the storm, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii categorised as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Centre director Ken Graham said.

McMaster warned that once tropical storm-force winds begin moving in, rescuers will not be able to assist people because the rescuers themselves will be moving to safety.

According to the National Hurricane Center's "hurricane hunter" airplane, waves of 83-feet were measured near the eye of Florence on Monday.

According to NHC: "A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours".

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"Hurricanes don't move through like typical storm events; they are these massive events with a lot of rainfall, and sometimes they move fairly slowly once they make landfall and drop a lot of rain on communities that may not have infrastructure prepared to handle that", Camp told Fox News.

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.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina.

NOAA also has a collection of live feeds, which include Buxton in North Carolina, and Cherry Beach and Folly Beach in SC. Hundreds of thousands of people have already evacuated.

"Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials..." The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says.

But forecasters have warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day - will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

The latest rainfall projections warn of 20-40 inches of rain from coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC - amounts that could bring "catastrophic flash flooding", the hurricane center said.

The warning expires at 6 a.m. Sunday. The list of canceled football games included No. 13 Virginia Tech's home game against East Carolina, No. 14 West Virginia's trip to North Carolina State and No. 18 UCF's visit to North Carolina.

The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday.

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