Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph) as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early Thursday, reducing the storm from Category 4 to Category 2, but forecasters warned that the enormous wind field has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land.
The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation.
At 7 a.m., Florence was centered just 5 miles (10 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The National Hurricane Center says Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds.
"That's not necessarily connected to global warming, but that's an indication of what we might see in the future more often", he said.
Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.
Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights as it zeroes in on the southeastern coast of the U.S.
Marge Brown, 65, says goodbye to her father, George Brown, 90, before he is evacuated from a healthcare home in Morehead City, N.C., September 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. The commanding general says anyone remaining on base will have food, water and protection despite being in the projected path of the storm.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding.
"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".
Mac Miller died long before paramedics were called
Ariana Grande (center right) and Mac Miller (far right) at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden in NY . Thousands of fans paid respects to the late Mac Miller at one of his favorite childhood hangout spots on Tuesday.
Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.
At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.
Prisoners were affected, too.
Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but then reconsidered.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that has since been downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a hotel in Wilmington several miles inland.
By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.
Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC...20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches.
Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.
Although the storm is approaching the USA coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle. Surges as high as 9-to-13 feet are now forecast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout.
A similar-strength hurricane, Maria, struck the island of Puerto Rico past year, resulting in the deaths of almost 3,000 US citizens. With that said, the President made a tweet this morning which was not only irresponsible, but also a blatant lie.
Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.