Tracking Hurricane Florence as it bears down on U.S. East Coast

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The clip shows water pouring down a street in the Outer Banks, leading to a damaged pier.

"This means more people, structures and land will be subject to the unsafe winds", Miller said.

The eye of Florence continues to churn about 180 miles from the North Carolina coast Thursday morning.

Warning the 10 million residents of America's Southeastern coast about Hurricane Florence, US President Donald Trump has said, "Don't play games with it".

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and the likelihood of it lingering around the coast for days - would bring seawater surging on to land and torrential downpours. On top of that, a disastrous amount of rain - 500mm, possibly even as much as 1m - is expected to fall. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti.

Hurricane Florence is now a category 2 hurricane, with winds of close to 110mph (177km/h).

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency. The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding. "Don't plan to leave once the winds and rains start".

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Coastal North Carolina felt the first bite of Hurricane Florence on Thursday as winds began to rise, a prelude to the slow-moving tempest that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the USA southeast.

The storm's forward motion has slowed 11km/h since Wednesday (local time), which was predicted as the storm nears the coast. It's moving toward the coast at a speed of 12mph.

Even by major hurricane standards, Florence is a beast like no other. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area. Of course, coupled with what could be tropical storm force wind gusts arriving as early as late tonight, there will likely be some trees knocked down as soils become quickly saturated.

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North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs.

The full force of Hurricane Florence is expected to hit on Friday.

"This will have a storm surge in the 20-foot range", Myers said.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk. The Charleston area is under a storm surge watch.

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.

The zone where these intense winds occur will be narrow and they will last just a few hours, but the effects will probably be severe, similar to a tornado. This will likely lead to power outages across the area.

Up to 75 percent of the utility's customers could be without power, and it may take "weeks" to fully restore it, he said.

Because the storm will slow it moves over the eastern Carolinas, these wind impacts will be magnified.

Rain is expected to begin in Charlotte late Friday evening and into Saturday.

With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand. But then they gradually diverge.

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