Florence was officially downgraded to a still-deadly Category 2 hurricane, but the storm is still expected to bring flash floods, storm surge, high winds and heavy rain as it makes its way toward the East Coast of the United States Thursday. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma previous year.
Hurricane Florence is now a category 2 hurricane, with winds of close to 110mph (177km/h).
Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in southeastern coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC. The National Hurricane Center, which called these levels "catastrophic", has created a augmented reality tool that helps visualize how severe the storm surge could be.
According to CNN, the category 2 storm will possibly hit as low as Hilton Head Island in SC and make its way up as far as Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina and beyond. As of Thursday, almost a dozen airports have shut down, with more than 1,000 flights being canceled.
At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency. It's moving toward the coast at a speed of 12mph. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.
More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).
A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
Dark clouds hang off the beach of Hatteras Village at the south end of Hatteras Island, NC., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.
Hurricane Florence leaves hundreds of thousands without power in North Carolina
According to a 2004 NRC report , Brunswick was rated to be waterproof against a storm surge of up to 6.7 metres (22 feet). On its current track, the storm will hit the coast on Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 105 miles per hour .
The centre issued a public advisory with a summary of watches and warnings in effect for several areas.
In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours.
Flooding from both the storm surge and rainfall could be "catastrophic", the National Hurricane Center warned.
The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.
The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.
Like a bulldozer, the storm's winds and forward motion will push a tremendous amount of water onshore when it makes landfall. Tropical Storm Olivia has made landfall in the Hawaiian islands, the Philippines are bracing for the powerful typhoon Mangkhut, and Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing the Leeward Islands. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Kinston has a 30 percent poverty rate, according to 2015 U.S. Census data - almost double that of North Carolina as a whole.
Subtropical Storm Joyce, which formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday, is also not expected to hit the U.S. It is forecast to become a tropical storm in the next day or so while drifting to the southwest.