Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely risky. In reality, Florence was downgraded by the National Weather Service from a category 3 to a category 2 storm. But authorities warned Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely unsafe.
The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 0715 EDT near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Hurricane Florence has been steadily churning toward the US East coast sparking mass evacuation in Wilmington, North Carolina, all the way up to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
The bad news? The still-dangerous storm is slowing down ... and is expected to take a leisurely "fish hook" dip through SC after coming ashore somewhere between Carolina Beach, N.C. and Emerald Isle, N.C. sometime around 2:00 a.m. EDT.
Heavy rain, gusting winds and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence deluged the Carolinas on Thursday as the massive, slow-moving storm crept toward the coastline, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf.
U.S. President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. "Dont play games with it". One emergency official said it will be a "Mike Tyson punch" to the area.
As of 8 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).
Flash flooding, downed trees and power outages will be possible in these regions early next week before Florence finally departs the East Coast on Wednesday or Thursday.
Its unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. The shopping list for people who have chose to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1100 trucks. The storm could knock out electricity to several million customers in the Carolinas.
This stream shows the boardwalk at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach.
"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.
Private meteorologist Ryan Maue of Weathermodels.com in an email called the overnight European computer simulation "another model run for the ages".
Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways.
Holly Waters, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened. Do not try to walk or drive your auto through them.
Here is the latest forecast bubble for the storm ...
More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle. There is a chance some of that tropical rainfall could pass through portions of the Northeast next Tuesday or Wednesday before we can finally say good riddance to Florence for good.
Kelly Salisbury said she's staying put in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, even though most of the town left.
Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. Pfaff described the storm surge as "life-threatening".
With South Carolinas beach towns now more in the bulls-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand. Most other beachgoers were long gone.
"Its been really nice", Nicole Roland said. "Also, a little creepy".