Watch live streaming video of Hurricane Florence rolling into North Carolina

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images

As of 8 a.m., its maximum wind speeds remain at 110 miles per hour. It was located about 345 miles east of Guadaloupe.

A few of the high-resolution images show the towering walls of the eye of the storm where things are ever so much calmer than they are near the wall of the eye.

Sixteen kilometres away in Wilmington, wind gusts of 32 to 20 kph were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River, although no rain had yet fallen.

"It's not a zero event".

"The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

All four major USA airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost.

"It's just extremely busy and it's even busier than past year and all at once", Blake said.

New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School. "It's a big one", he said. "It's a nasty interplay that makes it very hard".

Forecasters predict the storm surge from Hurricane Florence could top 13 feet, enough to send water a half mile inland.

"Extremely risky winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage".

It's now expected to continue weakening and dissipate in five days.

On Tuesday (September 11), they published a map to their Facebook page showing the extent of the likely wind damage brought to the U.S. as Florence penetrates the Eastern seaboard.

The storm's forward motion has slowed 11km/h since Wednesday (local time), which was predicted as the storm nears the coast.

The strongest winds will occur where and when the storm makes landfall in a ring around the calm eye of the storm known as the eyewall. While computer models have shifted the forecast track for the storm noticeably to the south and west, it doesn't mean the D.C. region and other parts of the mid-Atlantic states are in the clear. Given its expected slow speed once it rolls ashore, they warned the heavy rain and storm could spread across a wide area.

Even worse: Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.

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

Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h. "Prepare for long power outages". We only need to remember that tropical storm Irene was not a hurricane when it created tremendous damage to homes and covered bridges in Vermont in 2011.

The effects of the storm will begin being felt Thursday night as rain and high winds begin to impact North and SC.

"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence. A hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday.

"It looks like Helene will move towards Ireland on Tuesday morning".

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