Watch live streaming video of Hurricane Florence rolling into North Carolina

The National Hurricane Center has, accordingly, warned of "Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians late this week into early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland".

As the storm continues toward Southeastern North Carolina, it will bring life-threatening storm surges, flooding and unsafe waves to the coast, the briefing said.

The storm was about 100 miles southeast of Wilmington and had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, which is slightly weaker than earlier Thursday, the briefing said.

Measurements by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 110 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

Florence, however, continues to threaten the east coast as a fierce storm that could trigger flooding as far south as Georgia.

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

In the Historic Triangle, a coastal flood warning is in effect for James City County, Williamsburg and York County through 6 a.m. Sunday.

"You put your life at risk by staying", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday.

Members of law enforcement work with the National Guard to direct traffic onto US Highway 501 as Hurricane Florence approaches the US east coast.

North and SC and Virginia ordered mass evacuations along the coast. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore.

The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 13, 2018.

"Very risky winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters".

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Centre, and businesses and homes in the storm's path were boarded up in anticipation.

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

Every now and then nature throws out a storm so massive we can only gaze upon it in humbling awe at its fearsome power. Additionally, tornadoes could arise in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday.

"It's all going to be predicated on where the damage is at, in terms of how and where we deploy our resources", said Penn.

By way of computer modeling, Duke Energy anticipates between 1 and 3 million customers in the Carolinas to lose power in addition to those Dominion serves in Virginia. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge".

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. Only one storm scared them enough to leave the island.

Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

Other bars in North Carolina stayed open on Wednesday night (amid warnings to evacuate) and advertised local beer, pizza and vodka, the Daily Mail reported.

"I'm going to get killed on the road,"' Bradley said.

  • Carolyn Briggs