State officials and the National Weather Service warned the storm's weakening only relates to wind speed, not the storm surges or flooding that will accompany the hurricane.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane a few miles east of Wilmington, as the center of its eye moved onshore near Wrightsville Beach, the National Hurricane Center said.
"Mandatory" evacuations in coastal Virginia and the Carolinas have been underway for days in advance of Hurricane Florence, but some residents have chosen to remain in their homes. "We're looking at tropical-storm force winds in our area for several hours, and that can cause a lot of damage - not to mention the rain we're looking at".
"It's not like we're not taking it seriously", Mrs. Mramer told The Washington Times.
"If you're going to leave. you should leave now because time is running out", McMaster said.
"We have quite literally surrounded the expected affected area with DOD capability that will be critical in hours and days following the storm's impact", said Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, who heads U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
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However, defense officials said the bombers in that flight were supported by aerial refueling tankers. A similar incident occurred on September 1, the Washington Free Beacon first reported .
The National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Thursday night that a storm surge of 10 feet above normal level had already been reported by the National Weather Service office in Morehead City, N.C. Rainfall of up to 40 inches could occur in isolated areas of North and SC.
"If I am, I hope God protects us".
The center downgraded Florence to a Category 1 hurricane, but warned that it still carried "very unsafe winds".
The center said that a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, recently reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding. According to Fire Chief Glen Rogers, there are in fact only 12 people left on the beach to sit out the storm.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.
A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
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Cora indicated that the Puerto Rican people are continuing their efforts to a return to normalcy. In the weeks after the storm hit, the Puerto Rican government said 64 people died on the island.
Mr Cooper's office said the current emergency declaration was helping state officials prepare for the storm.
"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.
Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had just been briefed on the storm and "FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready".
One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks.
A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost nine metres high as Florence churned toward shore.
Officials pleaded with residents across the Carolinas to treat the storm as a deadly threat. Poor people are less likely to evacuate since they can't afford to travel and stay in other regions.
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Secretary of State, speaks during the International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston, June 7, 2018. Met Zarif again in NY in April.