Florence is battering the North Carolina coast - flooding beach town roads from the Outer Banks to Carolina Beach.
Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday, knocking down trees, swamping streets and causing four deaths before slowing to a pace that will lead to a days-long deluge for the region.
A weather station in Atlantic Beach recorded a total of 12.73 inches for a 24-hour period.
Long-duration, damaging wind gusts of 55 miles per hour or greater and saturated ground may cause a tremendous amount of trees to fall and lead to widespread power outages from the southern tip of Delmarva to Charleston, South Carolina and as far inland as Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, to Columbia, South Carolina.
Some areas also saw the first of the hurricane-force winds.
Some 11,000 power outages had already been reported in the state. "While we expect an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 40 inches of rain, extensive inland flooding and storm surge flooding from Florence, Hurricane Harvey unleashed more than 60 inches of rain locally centered around the United States' fourth largest city, Houston, which has a population of 2.3 million", AccuWeather Founder and President Dr. Joel N. Myers said.
USA forecasters said that the storm is slated to weaken after landfall. It is moving northwest at 6 miles per hour. Officials expect the shellacking to last through Friday and into Saturday. The actual landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - will be Friday afternoon at the earliest, said Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore. That's enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
RMS Event Response Manager Tom Sabbatelli said Thursday that though Florence had weakened considerably, the storm was broader because of that weakening.More news: Waffle House is Preparing to Stay Open During Hurricane Florence
"There is some damage. but it is still standing strong. We're able", he said. Their primary tactic is deterrence - warning residents about the dangers of staying. "Additionally, Florence's projected toll is less than Hurricane Sandy's toll of $69 billion and Katrina's cost of $161 billion", Myers said.
"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".
Garden City Fire District Chief Norman Knight told Murrells Inlet residents on Thursday that it was still not too late to leave.
"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income".
In honor of all this hard work, here are several more memes people sent us about the hurricane. "It can go back up", she said. It's a kind gesture but doesn't alleviate Browning's fear.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably a 7" in terms of worry, she said.
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.
Hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings were still in effect from South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.More news: Liverpool Beat Tottenham Hotspur For Fifth Straight Win
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, that a "historic storm" would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state.
Even the thousands of emergency workers on scene - ranging from power workers to National Guardsmen to cops, many of them volunteers from across the country - could only sit and wait for Florence to do its worst before they could do their best. Florence will then make a slow westward movement to central SC over the next 72 hours.
His bustling pizza restaurant is one of the few businesses open in the evacuated town.
"Remember most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars".
"There's going to be really nowhere for anybody to go", said Chief House with Wrightsville Beach Police.
He said he usually doesn't make the pizzas himself, but he was on Thursday because "everybody is scared", including most of his staff.
Virginia and Georgia are also under states of emergency, but it's North and SC that are positioned to suffer the worst of the storm's wrath.
Florence was one of two major storms on Friday. Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Ireland and Great Britain.More news: Apple halts the production of iPhone X, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE