High-definition video from space shows the extreme power of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Up to 10 million people lie in the path of the storm, which still poses a risk to life and property, although it has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

By Sunday, clouds from Florence will increase around here, with rain arriving by Sunday night into Monday.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, "This hurricane is bringing more rain than any other hurricane", according to SCETV.

In anticipation of the winds and water, 1.7 million people living along the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center.

"Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km)".

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted somewhat to the south.

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Wrightsville Beach 12 brace for Florence to fully make landfall
Cooper said 126 shelters are open across the state, with more than 12,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday evening. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

The New York Army National Guard is ready to deploy four helicopters - two CH-47 Chinooks and two UH-60 Blackhawks - to help storm response efforts.

In Charleston, South Carolina, streets were quiet with schools and many offices and businesses closed.

If anyone left out there doubts Florence's sheer capacity to wreak havoc in the coming days, this NOAA satellite image (from former NASA scientist and Professor Marshall Shepherd) should do the convincing.

Florence is predicted to turn more toward the northwest through Thursday - but then is expected to head more west-northwest and stall a bit over the Carolinas.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center. "So Florence is kind of spreading out, becoming a much larger, more stable hurricane".

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington. "You can't argue with mother nature". You never know. But we know.

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