Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head

A mandatory evacuation is in effect in preparation of the approaching Hurricane Florence

Astronauts aboard ISS had to use super wide-angle lens to photograph massive Hurricane Florence

The 400-mile wide storm is predicted to start slamming the N.C. coast Thursday night to early Friday, then weaken to a tropical storm as it drifts into SC, said John Quagliariello, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia.

In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers.

Florence is expected to make landfall about 8 a.m. Friday, then stall over the Wilmington region, dumping up to 35 inches of rain and prompting worry of "extreme" flash flooding. Weather forecasters also warn that the threat of tornadoes is increasing as the system draws closer to land.

As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.

Florence is now moving to the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour. "Time is running out.Power will be out for a long time, think about what you need".

The surge in power outages along the coast is the result of gusts coming off Hurricane Florence and knocking trees into power lines, said Lisa Crawley, a spokeswoman for the co-ops.

As of 5pm EDT (10pm BST) Florence was only 100 miles east-southeast from Wilmington, North Carolina and 155 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Forecasters are predicting as much as 40in of rain in some localized areas.

The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm, but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit. The storm was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.

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Additionally, the National Hurricane Center has not changed its forecast for the storm surge - with up to 13 feet possible - or rainfall - with up to 40 inches dumped in some spots.

A now weakened Category 2 storm, Hurricane Florence still is expected to be "extremely dangerous" and a "life-threatening hurricane" the National Hurricane Center said.

"Employees and local contractors have inspected equipment, reviewed procedures and assembled staffing plans to ensure around-the-clock support to respond to any potential impacts", the company said in a statement.

Brock, meanwhile, said the surges "are going to be a major problem way up into the streams and tributaries that come out of sound areas". REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

Some people, such as Jennie, are refusing to heed evacuation warnings.

Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina.

Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".

Train travel: Amtrak has announced cancellations on northbound and southbound trains going through North and SC.

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