Officials have warned the few that stayed behind of the dangers ahead.
More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in the Carolinas and Virginia, and about 30 million across the Southeast will be affected if the forecast holds, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. The typhoon is expected to make landfall in the Philippines Saturday before barreling toward China, Vietnam and Laos.
"They try to stay open as long as they can", Kourounis said.
Florence, due to make landfall Thursday afternoon along the coast of North and SC, is expected to be devastating.
The path of Hurricane Florence has changed since Cooper made that statement Tuesday.
The Hurricane Center forecasts that Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC on Thursday night and Friday. "We have a day off. Let's get drunk!'" said Jordan Berry, the barman at Cape Fear Wine and Beer, a local haunt where sports programming had been replaced by weather forecasters on the television screens lining the walls of the bar. They also instituted a 24-hour curfew.
Hurricanes are categorized on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the strongest.
Mayor Joe Benson said the storm will batter the oceanside town through two high-tide periods. Surges as high as 9-to-13 feet are now forecast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout.
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"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, a county commissioner. "Flooding is nearly guaranteed".
A hurricane warning was issued for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
Panovich: Right now it looks like landfall is going to occur sometime early Friday morning between, I would say, 4 a.m. and probably about 8 a.m., but it might actually never make it all the way in.
Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia.
This image of Hurricane Florence was captured by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, now living and working onboard the International Space Station. The images here were all taken by astronaut Alexander Gerst on September 12.
If you're in the path of this storm, get out of it. Pack your stuff into the attic and your auto, grab the preferred kids, pets, and spouse, and head inland. The four named storms in the Atlantic come as one in the Pacific is hitting Hawaii.
The storm's possible track now bends farther to the SW and closer to cities like Jacksonville, but it's the delay and the possible repeat of a Harvey-like storm cycle that has officials and weather forecasters anxious.
Florence could have devastating impacts in Virginia, including storm surges, inland flooding, downed trees and power outages, Gov. Ralph Northam said.