ADCIRC predicts Florence's winds will cause 9 to 13 feet of storm surge in some areas along the North Carolina coast. With Florence, the potential for deaths by drowning comes from the storm surge as well as incredibly heavy rainfall. Winds and rain will gradually increase as Florence moves inland. And when three feet of rain falls, sustained winds of 105 or 100 miles per hour can be brutal.
According to Colgate, initial weather forecasts had Greenville "on the very outer edge of the storm".
Nearly two-thirds of the reported outages originated in Carteret County, along the coast about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina. "While that rain is still coming down for a couple of days, one to two days later you're going to have stuff coming from North Carolina and things coming in from the Upstate". More than 1,500 Red Cross disaster workers are helping Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
A weather station in Atlantic Beach recorded a total of 12.73 inches for a 24-hour period.
Florence is moving toward the northwest near 10 miles per hour.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (4m) have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.
There is also the threat of life-threatening storm surge along the coastlines and rivers that feed out to the ocean from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
He said that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk.
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"Your time is running out", he warned those who had not yet heeded the warning to evacuate. While hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.
"What we've seen as far as people actually evacuating, just from monitoring evacuation routes, seems there's been a pretty light amount of people evacuating", Ms. Norton said. "Leaving is such a problem with the traffic going out", Jennie told VOA Thursday afternoon as she strolled along the shore of Carolina Beach near Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", she said.
It was unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Of those who left, more than 4,000 had sought housing at emergency shelters across the state.
The Red Cross has urgent response preparations ongoing in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
"One minute we're at a high state of alert, the next we're at a low state, but we can adapt to the situation", said Capt. Eric Abdullah, of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, who said officials were trying to stay flexible.
"Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye", German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted.
U.S. television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach.