Florences top sustained wind speeds are now 105 miles per hour (175 kph) as its outer rain bands along with tropical storm force winds have spread across the Outer Banks of North Carolina and coastal southeastern North Carolina.
Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 225kmh to 175kmh as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early on Thursday.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.
Despite its unpredictable path, it was forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday on Friday.
At 8 a.m., the center of Florence was 10 miles (15 kilometers) south of Wilmington.
Previous story: As the outer rainbands of Hurricane Florence swipe up against the coast of North Carolina, forecasters are warning of possible life-threatening storm surges and flooding.
The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.
Storm surges could push as far as 2 miles (3 km) inland, NHC said, while heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
"This is a handsome beach here I can't imagine how it's going to be when we come back", homeowner Sheryl Andrews said.
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That's a position that's been echoed by numerous experts, even as the political rhetoric continues to remain charged. In Michigan, 259,000 jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, the study said.
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in North Carolina late Thursday night or Friday morning.
"Get out of its way, don't play games with it", said Mr Trump. "It's a big one, maybe as big as they've seen, and tremendous amounts of water".
Its unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Airlines had cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1100 trucks. High Surf Advisory for all beaches today.
Duke Energy said the hurricane could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storms aftermath, it said.
NOAA also has a collection of live feeds, which include Buxton in North Carolina, and Cherry Beach and Folly Beach in SC.
"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said. Hurricane Florence is now over 500 miles (804 kilometers) in diameter.
Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have all declared a state of emergency.
Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this image of Hurricane Florence from the space station on September 12, 2018.
Severe inland flooding is also forecast for the Palmetto State, which is expected to see Florence drift through its Pee Dee, Midlands and Upstate regions on Saturday and Sunday.
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The U.S. Coast Guard said it closed the ports of Wilmington and Moorehead City in North Carolina and restricted port operations in Charleston, South Carolina. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.