The scale includes five categories and is based on the storm's sustained wind speeds.
"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.
Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity. That's enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Currently, tropical-storm-force winds have been recorded extending outward up to 160 miles (260 km) from the centre of the storm.
"It's cumulative damage", Myers said. "If it's my time to go, I'll go". Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
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"Very unsafe winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters".
The storm is expected to affect airports in Georgia and Virginia.
The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC on Thursday night and Friday, the NHC added. Hurricane's typically lose power relatively quickly once they make landfall, but a stalled-out hurricane can recharge itself from warmer coastal waters while simultaneously dumping huge amounts of water on the already-inundated southeast. Storm surge, the rise in seawater above normally dry land at the coast, could rise a story high.
FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate.
Conditions will deteriorate through Thursday (local time): Starting along the coast, winds will accelerate, the rain will intensify, and the ocean will surge ashore. Given its expected slow speed once it rolls ashore, they warned the heavy rain and storm could spread across a wide area.
The Carolinas and Virginia are preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence later this week and one of the most life-threatening elements of the storm is the amount of rainfall predicted to hit the area, reports Vox.
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"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.
Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina.
Mayor Joe Benson said the storm will batter the oceanside town through two high-tide periods. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore.
"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. "Flooding is nearly guaranteed".
"When that last ferry pulls out ... it's unnerving to see it pull away and know, 'That's the last chance I have of getting off this island, '" she said Wednesday. HO/AFP/Getty Images In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the US east coast as seen from the International Space Station.
German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted pictures of the monster storm taken from the International Space Station along with the warning: "Watch out, America!" "If God's coming for you, you can't run from him".
Pence heading to Georgia ahead of Hurricane Florence
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. But despite that, bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size.