Florence is now "only" a Category 2 hurricane. That won’t matter much

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

- The outer bands of Hurricane Florence, which has downgraded to a Category 2 storm, have reached the Carolina coastline as of Thursday morning.

"We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful".

Marshall: You mentioned some hefty winds here in the Charlotte area.

"Two years ago, we made hot dogs and sold PBR out of Bar Normandy", resident Chaz Green said at One Broad, a local restaurant that is now the go-to venue for hurricane parties. According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday. Rainfalls up to 40 inches (102 centimeters) in some places are expected in a region ranging from coastal North Carolina to northeastern SC, with flash flooding likely, according to the NHC.

Vickie Grate, left, waits in a shelter with her son Chris, center, and his girlfriend Sarah, who only gave their first names, for Hurricane Florence to pass after evacuating from their nearby homes, in Conway, South Carolina, Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

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If you want to know more specific information about your area, head to the National Weather Service's social media page, where you can enter your zip code and find your local forecast office. Those winds, though weaker, are behind the biggest threats: storm surges and widespread flooding. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Europe and newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land.

See full coverage of Hurricane Florence, here. The ground is saturated with water and unlikely able to withstand the heavy, persistent rains that are expected. The governor added that a million or more people could be evacuated before the storm makes landfall. High winds, life-threatening storm-surge flooding and significant rain are expected across a much wider area, according to the NHC.

The latest storm surge has some areas under over 8 feet of water. On Tuesday (September 11), they published a map to their Facebook page showing the extent of the likely wind damage brought to the U.S. as Florence penetrates the Eastern seaboard. Some flooding was forecast early in the day for parts of North Florida, but those forecasts were adjusted later to include high swells and minor coastal flooding at high tide.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina. Florence is now a strong Category 2 storm. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

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