Hurricane Florence shifts south as Georgia and Carolinas hunker down

Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the US coast late Thursday and Friday.

Although Florence was still days from arrival, authorities took extraordinary measures to move people out of harm's way.

Another resident staying put despite evacuation orders to over 1 million people throughout the Carolinas and Virginia is Jon Wright, a retired firefighter.

A Hurricane Warning from Duck, North Carolina south into SC, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

President Trump and his administration are buckling in for Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane expected to slam into the Carolinas by Friday.

Lester "Buddy" Stroud, a farm hand at Shelley Farms, walks through a field of tobacco ready to be harvested in the Pleasant View community of Horry County, South Carolina, U.S., July 26, 2013.

Schools in southeastern North Carolina were closed on Tuesday and will not reopen until Monday.

The hurricane is gaining pace as it heads for the Carolinas, where 1.7million people have been told to evacuate. It had been projected to shift north after making landfall. It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher.

The US east coast is bracing for more than 40 inches of rain as Hurricane Florence barrels nearer to land. One power station, Duke Energy Corp's Brunswick plant, the closest to the area where landfall is forecast, faced a likely shutdown as a precaution.

Stronger, rainier, and more damaging hurricanes have always been predicted as a outcome of climate change.

A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow).

Residents prepared by boarding up their homes and stocking up on food, water and other essentials, stripping grocery store shelves of merchandise. "We go through a lot of these hurricane scares throughout the years", Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

More than 20 inches (51 cm) of rainfall are possible across eastern North Carolina, said Don Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist for weather forecaster Radiant Solutions. "What is flooding going to do to our home, our city?"

"Heed the warnings", said Byard, adding there was "well over $20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund. But, it's the water, not the wind, that has the potential to make the storm so deadly, experts say.

  • Fernando Stephens