Hurricane Florence is a Category-4 storm that's headed for the US East Coast and predicted to start impacting SC and North Carolina as early as Thursday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 p.m. EST, the storm was centered 280 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling Florence a major and deadly storm.
States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather. A crew from IL has already arrived in Greensboro, and crews from West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Vermont, Florida and Tennessee are also on their way.
Weekend sporting events have already been canceled, with possibly more to come.
For many of those under evacuation orders, getting out of harm's way has proved difficult, as airlines canceled flights and motorists had a hard time finding gas.
The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday the massive waves were produced by being trapped along with very strong winds moving in the same direction of the storm's motion.
"It looks like the hurricane should approach the Wilmington, N.C., area and then potentially stall before shifting south and perhaps paralleling along the coastline towards the Savannah area", Speciale said.
Caitie Sweeney of Myrtle Beach texts her family while visiting the beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Elsewhere in the Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic states, three to six inches of rain are expected, with up to 12 inches in isolated areas, according to the NHC.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC. But North Carolina's code lagged the rest of the country by one or two cycles and didn't meet even the 2009 standards for anchoring windows and doors.
Duke Energy serves around 4 million people in North and SC.
Florence's nighttime winds were down to 110 miles per hour (175 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 3 storm fell to a Category 2, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast. 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.
Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimeters). The rainfall and flood threat would remain extreme, and there could be a southwestward-propagating storm surge along the coast.
Both Athens hospitals were monitoring the progress of the storm in case they were needed to receive patients from areas impacted by the storm. Isaac could bring heavy rainfall to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.
Richmond has moved its scheduled home football game this week against St. Francis to the Red Flash's field in Pennsylvania because of Hurricane Florence.
And if that isn't enough, Subtropical Storm Joyce formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, but it's not expected to hit the U.S. The system is expected to drift to the southwest in the coming days.