Trinidadians in the Carolinas prepare for Hurricane Florence

Customers buy supplies at a Lowe’s store in Wilmington North Carolina. The city could take a direct hit from Hurricane Florence

Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC | New Hampshire

The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.

"If this thing comes inland and stops in eastern North Carolina like they forecast it, and we get two days of continuous rain, the rain will be our biggest damage", he said. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.

National Weather Service Though Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a category 2 hurricane, it's still caused storm surges up to 10 feet in some areas, with the worst of the flooding still expected to come.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm late Thursday, and now contains maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts.

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The southern portion of the Virginia coast is under a tropical storm warning - from north of Duck, North Carolina, to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort. More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

Wilmington is likely to receive upwards of 20 inches of rainfall over the next several days.

As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. "It's something we haven't seen. ever". And Florence remained capable of unleashing rain-fueled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas across a wide region. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave".

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, as the centre of its eye moved onshore, the National Hurricane Center said. "We were able to evacuate quite a few; some did not go", he said.

After it weakens inland, Florence is predicted to turn northward, raising concern about how additional rainfall - even from a significantly weakened storm - will impact the southwestern portion of the commonwealth, which is already water-logged.

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The latest flash flood predictions for Friday and Saturday.

Rail and cruise ship travel have also been affected by the unsafe storm.

Given the storm's size and slow speed, officials warned that Florence could cause similar large-scale flood damage to that seen in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago.

WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

The US president said he had spoken to governors of threatened states, adding that the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7". On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.

By then, Craven County had already gotten more than 100 calls from people who said they were trapped in their homes and in vehicles, public information officer Amber Parker tells TIME Friday morning.

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The MISR passed over the hurricane on Thursday, NASA said.

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