Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast — WHAT’S HAPPENING

Florence path

Florence is now a Category 2 hurricane, but could strengthen a bit before making landfall. This storm is extremely unsafe.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center, and businesses and homes in the storm's path were boarded up in anticipation.

The Canadian government has warned citizens against travel to the stretch of the U.S. East Coast that is expected to be hammered by Florence.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3 feet of rain were considered an even bigger threat than its winds, which dropped way down from a terrifying 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

PREVIOUS STORY: Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 miles per hour winds, is forecast to reach the coastline of the Carolinas early Friday morning with little strengthening expected before landfall. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimetres) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimetres).

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it", said Mr Trump.

In Awendaw, South Carolina, Chris Johnson said he's staying behind to watch his house while his wife, Michele, is evacuating.

It was located about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 145 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "This is in addition to him claiming a couple days ago that Hurricane Florence is the 'biggest to hit our country".

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Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia. The shopping list for people who have made a decision to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1100 trucks.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Added Chris: "I think with what we know right now [with the storm track] this is the best decision for us".

Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been told to leave that if they don't, they are on their own.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. We spoke to those braced for Florence's looming arrival.

Forecasters say it could slow dramatically when it nears land and then linger until Saturday, moving unpredictably along the coast and bringing torrential rain.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees. "I know it's hard to move, and I know that you are leaving things behind that you don't want to leave behind, but no possession is worth your life". 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".

Florence has weakened a bit over 24 hours, but it's also grown even larger - and it will likely dump torrential rain over North and SC through Monday. Today the threat becomes a reality, " he said. "Also, a little creepy".

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