While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC.
But the most risky threat comes from Florence's rains and storm surge, which could bring flooding far inland. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley". "On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday", the briefing said.
A hurricane warning is in effect for a big chunk of the Carolina coast, from the South Santee River below Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duck, N.C. - part of the Outer Banks. Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds.
Hurricane Florence has slowed as it approaches Wilmington, now marching at 5 miles per hour as it continues to aim its center at Wilmington, according to a 5 p.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.
The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm, but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit.
"Sometimes these systems, they expand", she said.
The problem from this hurricane is going to be its slow movement.
Because hurricane force winds extend 130 kilometers from the center, people on land will experience sharply deteriorating conditions long before the center reaches the coast.More news: Rat causes Chinese restaurant chain to lose £145 million in value
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People look out over the surf before Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2018.
Forecasters' European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. "But even worse than that is coming back in because you don't know what you're coming back to".
Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".
"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.
Residents of the Carolinas and neighboring states should consult local authorities for any evacuation orders and other preparation guidelines. Here's why this storm threatens not only the coast but millions of people inland. "All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come".
"We'll handle it. We're ready".
"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.