WHAT'S HAPPENING: Florence begins to batter Carolina coast

Marshall vs. South Carolina game cancelled due to Hurricane Florence

Some steadfast residents to stay put as Hurricane Florence approaches

Hurricane Florence is threatening millions of Americans in the southeast, as FEMA warns that this is a very unsafe storm.

Recent forecasts show the likely path of the hurricane and surrounding storm to head southwards after smacking into North Carolina and SC.

Florence is now expected to pass over much of SC, with storm force winds beginning Thursday and hurricane force winds on Friday, said John Quagliariello with the National Weather Service in Columbia. For those in any region that is forecasted to get around or above 4 to 6 inches of rain, take special note.

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Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

Some weakening has occurred today, but there will be one last window tonight and early tomorrow for Florence to have another shot at strengthening a bit before its center begins to reach the southern North Carolina/northern SC coasts.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper predicted tens of thousands of homes and businesses would be flooded in his state.

But in Maryland, possible impacts were diminishing as the storm's track shifted to the south and west. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office said strong winds are "unlikely to be a factor" here, and heavy rain is expected to be a risk only for Southern Maryland and to the south.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

"In fact, this entire area is under a mandatory evacuation order", he said.

The tickets are available on a first come first serve basis, the department said. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs. "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely".

Winds will be at least 100 miles per hour as the storm approaches the coast.

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, said Marc Chenard of the US Weather Prediction Centre. "You feel like you should have already left".

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