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. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".
As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.
Because most are managed as wild animals, numerous horses will be left to fend for themselves, said Paula Gillikin of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve.
The outer edge of Hurricane Florence began buffeting the Carolinas with wind and rain on Thursday as forecasters warned the monster storm would trigger life-threatening flooding as it assaults the U.S. east coast.
Hurricane Florence will slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.
The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days. Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h.
The Saffir-Simpson scale that meteorologists use to measure hurricanes reflects only the wind speeds involved in the storm, and right now Hurricane Florence's winds are hovering at maximum speeds of about 110 miles per hour (175 km/h).
Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm makes its way slowly inland.
Florence is moving toward land at 9 kilometers per hour (6 mph), giving it more time to churn, suck up water, batter the coast, and bring massive amounts of rain inland.
In North Carolina, Florence is expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain.
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Baker said the rain will bring damaging flash flooding to all areas of the Wilmington region, not just low-lying areas that are particularly vulnerable.
Members of the Missouri Search and Rescue, part of FEMA, unload their gear at a staging area as Hurricane Florence starts to make landfall in Lealand, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. By Friday morning Florence had already sapped power to almost 450,000 customers in the Carolinas, emergency officials said.
North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.
General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 USA military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.
According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the US mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians".
Roughly 1 million people are under evacuation orders. The center of the hurricane will remain close to the coast Friday, "with much of the circulation still over water".
"The idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more. once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", a Wilmington resident named Kate tells VOA. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her familys pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.
The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.
"You put your life at risk by staying", Cooper said.
"We'll handle it. We're ready. We're able", he said.
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We remain in constant communications with local, state and federal officials regarding the status of the plant, and the U.S. The Union of Concerned Scientists, said it was anxious about the Brunswick plant's capabilities to weather out the storm.
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The coastal area of SC features hundreds of inlets while North Carolina has barrier islands miles away from the mainland. Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm - but the danger is far from over for residents of the U.S.
Hurricane Maria hit on September 20, 2017, about two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit the island. "That is just what happened". Last month, Rossello accepted the study's conclusion that almost 3,000 people died as a result of the storm's effects.
'Catastrophic' Hurricane Florence buffets USA east coast
The NHC says tornadoes within hurricanes are usually "relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat". Sixteen kilometres away in the city of Wilmington , wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.
Hurricane Florence is producing waves as high as 83 feet
Until we know how bad wind, power outages and flooding are, we won't know how much home and business fix will be needed. The National Hurricane Center forecasts that the slower storm could bring as much as 40 inches of rain in places.
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Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 1 storm
The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour (144 kph) by nightfall. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.
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Hurricane Florence lashes Carolinas with heavy rain, floods
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Susan Faulkenberry Panousis has stayed in her Bald Head Island, North Carolina home during prior hurricanes , but not this time.