The Buzz | Tropical bands from Florence begin lashing Carolinas

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Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways.

The National Hurricane Center, which called these levels "catastrophic", has created a augmented reality tool that helps visualize how severe the storm surge could be.

FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate. "It's important for people to know this is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time - not days, but weeks".

Winds and waves began battering the Carolinas on Thursday as officials warned that Hurricane Florence - while weakening slightly - remains a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the US East Coast.

"We are ready, but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country", said the president.

In its 1 a.m. Friday update, the NHC said Florence was about 45 miles east of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 90 mph.

Senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart warns that Florence being a slow hurricane could mean three to four hours of battering, beach-eroding winds for some areas. He compares Hurricane Florence with Hurricane Isabel, which hit the Virginia and North Carolina area at a similar strength in 2003, leaving about a million people without power and Hatteras Island battered. Water causes the most deaths during tropical storms and hurricanes, and Florence expected to cause risky flooding.

An American Red Cross aid worker walks through the cafeteria at Conway High School which is being used as a Hurricane Florence evacuation shelter at Conway High School on September 13, 2018 in Conway, South Carolina.

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As of 5 a.m. EDT (0900g) it was centered about 205 miles (325 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 250 miles (450 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). That said, the storm still brought powerful storm surges and unsafe flooding. Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315km.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.

This stream shows the boardwalk at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach.

She says people often want to get outside and take pictures.

"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 non-profit director.

Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation?

Despite all the warnings from numerous authorities, some residents say are planning to ride out the storm. The gradually slowing but still life-threatening storm is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour (24 kph). It's now predicted to make landfall near Wilmington and then head west across SC.

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