In US beach resort, residents seek shelter from the storm

Hurricane Florence from space

The swirl of red, yellow and green along the East Coast of the United States is Florence, a massive storm whose severity has been downgraded to Category 1 - but still packs high winds, torrential rain and storm surge. Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina.

An estimated 10 million people live in the storm's path, according to the US Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation.

Florence is now moving to the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 90 centimetres of rain, touching off severe flooding. The forecast track has the storm moving slowly along the coast throughout Friday and into Saturday.

Millions of people could lose power across North and SC. People in the Carolinas had the daytime hours Thursday to complete their final preparations to ride out or escape the storm.

Inland flooding near New Bern, North Carolina caused by Hurricane Florence's storm surge as predicted by the ADCIRC computer model.

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Palm-trees blow in the wind as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018.

Gillikin says the North Carolina Coastal Reserve stands ready to respond with whatever resources they can to help any animal suffering after the storm.

Hurricane Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 2 storm, but don't be fooled, it's still incredibly risky.

In the tiny community of Sea Breeze near Wilmington, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptised because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here". Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon. Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA via AP This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

Forecasters' European climate model is predicting two trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. "If God's coming for you, you can't run from him".

Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more". She packed up what she could and took a ferry.

The NHC warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

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