The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. The city's official Twitter account urged residents to move to the upper floors of their homes.
Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders held out hope of being rescued. On the James River, waves are expected to be about 1 foot though Sunday. The city said two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams were working on swift-water rescues, and more were on the way.
"But with conditions with the way they are, there are some area where it's just not safe to perform rescues", Parker says.
Although evacuations for residents are less likely here, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is advising Marylanders to factor pets and livestock into their disaster preparedness plans. And this is just the beginning. We have wind and rain. It is expected that the hurricane moves on or near the coastline during the night of Thursday through Friday.
Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.
So far, the life-threatening storm has forced more than 26,000 people into emergency shelters and more than 1,100 flights along the US East Coast have been cancelled this weekend.
Authorities main concern with Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, rather than high winds. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike.
Forecasters expect Florence to hit the Carolinas early in the morning on September 14. "I've lived here all my life".
Bertha Bradley said she has never favored evacuating ahead of hurricanes.
The impact of the storm is already being felt by those caught in its path. By midnight, Amy Johnson in Belhaven, North Carolina, on the Pungo River posted a video of raging floodwaters that had inundated the first floor of her home.
In Morehead City, an NWS Meteorologist captured dramatic footage of rain water sweeping through a parking lot.
Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 3.5m.
As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.