Maps: Here’s where flooding from Florence could be the worst

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All that said, a saturated ground, even with tropical storm-force winds, will uproot trees. "This is an extremely unsafe situation". Weather forecasters also warn that the threat of tornadoes is increasing as the system draws closer to land. "We're going to stay tight and check on everybody", he said.

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph).

Florence is now moving to the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour.

But between evacuations and storm shutter installations, NASA and NOAA are keeping people informed and entertained.

"Regardless of development, heavy rainfall and gusty winds are expected across portions of northeastern Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana on Friday and Saturday", the hurricane center said. Further inland, rain totals could reach 30 centimeters in the Carolinas, and up to 24 centimeters in the rest of the Carolinas and in southwestern Virginia.

Over 1 million residents of coastal states including North Carolina and SC were ordered to evacuate as of Thursday afternoon, ahead of the expected landfall of Hurricane Florence on Friday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that storm surge watches and warnings are in effect Wednesday for the entire North Carolina coast and parts of SC.

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Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely risky.

Forecasters say the storm is likely to remain constant in strength, weakening only after the center of the storm moves inland.

"I'm not going to lie: I'm scared", she said.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in place from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina.

A hurricane warning is in effect for a big chunk of the Carolina coast, from the South Santee River below Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duck, N.C. - part of the Outer Banks.

Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA via AP This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Thousands of marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit.

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Emergency preparations in the area included activating 2,800 National Guard troops in North Carolina, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so that major roads led away from shore and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the three-state region.

Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".

"I do worry though about people here because many didn't prepare, you know, because originally they didn't think it was going to be so bad here", Sparks said. BBC News reports that over 10 million people are under a storm watch as the East Coast braces itself for this hot, wet natural disaster.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week - an amount that's enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over.

He said there are about 7,000 USA military forces now in place and ready to respond to the storm - along with ships, helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles.

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