83-Foot Wave Recorded By Satellite Monitoring Hurricane Florence

Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth Harrelson install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

Florence is expected to make landfall late Thursday night or early Friday morning, Mountain Time, somewhere between Atlantic Beach, NC and Savannah, GA. In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN team had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising until it was too risky to stay in the area.

In less than 24 hours, Florence has dropped from category 4 to category 2.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC. Some areas could see gusts 40-50 miles per hour, with gusts up to hurricane strength in the OBX. But by Thursday morning, hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles beyond the center of Florence. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

The main concerns for us from Florence will be moderately heavy rainfall, which will cause flooded roadways, strong gusty winds, coastal flooding, moderate potential for downed trees and widespread power outages, and risky travel conditions.

The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday night and Friday, the NHC added.

"Catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely" in the areas of the Carolinas and southern-central Appalachians throughout the next week, the Hurricane Center warns.

Florence is moving northwest at about 12 miles per hour. The actual landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - will be Friday afternoon at the earliest, said Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is bigger than both of the Carolinas and THIS is why rain is the biggest issue. That's enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Leave now. You put your life at risk by staying. The utility room of John Hembree and Scot Perkins' Chesapeake home has become a refuge for their neighbor's birds as well as their own chickens, three dogs, turtle and cat. But barber Josh Dais says the island's 5,000 residents now are trying to decide whether to flee ahead of Hurricane Florence.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said. The more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be.

For some residents, evacuation plans were hampered by gasoline shortages.

Politicizing tragedy isn't something new, but Trump is taking us to darker place with statements like he's made this week, as his focus seemingly remains squarely on himself and his image. "He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said.

Her neighbors gave her the key to their house, which is two stories and might be safer from flooding, she said.

But James said she and her family are prepared and stocked up on several items. "But I think it'll be OK".

Roy Cooper urged residents in evacuation areas of his state to get out while they still can.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting upward of a 13-foot storm surge from an area of Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Cape Lookout should the peak surge happen at the same time as high tide. The problem is, Flo is now expected to stall out over the Carolinas before slowly moving inland.

Why is he open when the town is mostly evacuated?

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

"All my staff are gone", Thompson said.

Click on the videos below for a live look at the storm's impact in North and SC.

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