Hurricane Florence Shifts South as Carolinas Hunker Down

Astronauts had to use super wide-angle lens to photograph Hurricane Florence because it’s so huge

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Forecasters warn that millions could be affected by the hurricane.

"Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting out to be a devastating event to the Carolinas, and potentially Virginia as well".

The National Hurricane Center's projected track had Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast from Thursday night (Friday NZT) until landfall Saturday morning (Sunday NZT) or so, about a day later than previously expected.

Florence is moving over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and is expected to approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday.

Florence, a category 4 hurricane, is now moving in a west-northwesterly direction at 17mph.

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"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.

The hurricane was about 470 miles (755 km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach SC, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (205 km/h), the Miami, Florida-based weather forecaster said.

"The longer it stays, the more wind, the more rain".

Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service's storm forecast shows a chance that Florence's track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week.

Col. Glenn McNeill with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said troopers are on standby statewide to assist where needed. The power is going to be off for weeks.

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In Carolina Beach, an island community off the coast of Wilmington, 75 percent of residents have already left town. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland. But it's such a large storm that the rain will keep coming down in the region no matter where it wanders.

"Watch out, America!" Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in June, said Wednesday via a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence. Just adding up the store bases in North and SC and Virginia is an oversimplification, he argues, while his research suggests that only low- to mid-single-digit percentages of most companies' stores will be affected.

Still, some companies do look more exposed than others.

For many of those under evacuation orders, getting out of harm's way has proved difficult, as airlines cancelled flights and motorists had a hard time finding gas. He also asked that residents clear the exterior of their homes.

"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket", Whisler said. "Everyone was sold out", she said.

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