Winds will continue to pick up through Thursday afternoon and evening.
Bermuda, parts of the Bahamas and the northeast US coast may also feel some effects from Hurricane Florence. It's expected to make landfall later today. The brunt of the storm is expected to affect both Carolinas and parts of Virginia through Friday at least. In any case, it will bring heavy rain and some gusty winds to the northern Mexico, Texas, and possibly part of Louisiana coast.
Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina. A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington. He said he has been through this many times in his 15 years in the Myrtle Beach area and that "nothing is going to happen". "We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored".
Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the storm with his dog Canelo.
Another video from NOAA's GOES-East weather satellite caught a different view of Hurricane Florence. At Cape Lookout there were sustained winds of 83 miles per hour and gusts of 106. "It was located farther north in the Atlantic than any other storm to ever hit the Carolinas, so what we're forecasting is unprecedented", Moss said. "I am frightened about what's coming".
All four major U.S. airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost.
People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways as Florence bore down for a direct hit in the low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.
Duke Energy, the nation's No 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.
What's worse: Much of the Carolinas are already saturated from rainfall.
The message this morning is the same as it was yesterday when the hurricane was a Cat 4 with winds of 140 miles per hour.
The storm's center was about 50 miles south of Morehead City at around 11 p.m. EST (0300 GMT Friday).
-Storm surge: up to 13 feet, and seawaters could push inland 2 miles, depending on how long Florence lingers.
About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate and authorities urged them to get going before the streets become inundated.
Forecasters downgraded Florence, once a Category 4, to a risky Category 2 hurricane late Wednesday as the storm made its way toward the Carolinas, where some residents could see storm surges as high as 13 feet.
The NHC notes that amount of rainfall would "produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".
Nearly 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.
Cramer says they are expecting ocean water to flow over the sand dunes and bring sand into the town.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina. Instead, they drove 150 miles (240 km) inland to his mother's house in Durham.
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