Georgia Declares Emergency as Hurricane Florence Approaches

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bulls-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Florence was 435 miles from Wilmington, N.C., moving northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina, emphasized the potential implications of hurricane, which is now a category 4. For those in any region that is forecasted to get around or above 4 to 6 inches of rain, take special note.

The country's No. 2 power company said Wednesday that it's anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses could lose power for lengthy periods, depending on the storm's track.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 193km/h, before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4.

Florence could bring life-threatening storm surges up to 13 feet.

Some weakening has occurred today, but there will be one last window tonight and early tomorrow for Florence to have another shot at strengthening a bit before its center begins to reach the southern North Carolina/northern SC coasts.

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Hurricane Florence is closing in on the East Coast, ready to deliver what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is calling "a Mike Tyson punch" starting in about 24 hours.

Even miles away from the Atlantic, North Carolina residents in low-lying areas were boarding up and emptying stores.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

"In fact, this entire area is under a mandatory evacuation order", he said.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.

"You've seen how changes can be", Cline said. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track but stayed north of what most computer models were showing to prove some continuity with past forecasts.

In North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach, Inside Edition's Steven Fabian was told to leave his hotel, which is shutting down due to the storm.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. "Also, a little creepy".

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