People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro, N.C., September 13, 2018.
"Hurricane Florence was uninvited but she's just about here anyway", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, warning people not to be complacent just because the storm's winds had diminished.
Charlotte-based Duke has posted more than 11,000 outages in Surf City, Emerald Isle and Havelock, while the co-ops list more than 9,000, largely concentrated in Carteret and Craven counties.
"We're keeping some people late until about 8 o'clock tonight in case things happen, and then we're bringing the next shift in, and they'll be here through the night", he said. Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.
North Alabama stays on the "dry" side of the storm for the duration; however, the wind will pick up from Friday through the weekend (north at 10-20 miles per hour on average), and some showers are possible by Sunday and Monday as the western edge of Florence's "influence" spreads clouds and some rain this direction.
About 85,000 county residents are under mandatory evacuation orders, she said.
Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo. Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the electricity went out.
Roberts, the city spokeswoman, said Friday preliminary estimates show about 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged.
It was forecast to make landfall mid-day Friday near Cape Fear, North Carolina, bringing up to 40 inches (1 meter) of rain, and storm surges as high as 13 feet (4 meters), the NHC said.
Most of the coastal region's airports closed Thursday, with no flights expected until at least Saturday.
Myrtle Beach's courses accounted for half of the $2.7 billion in economic output that golf generated for the SC economy in 2015, according to a report from the state's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. Southwest Airlines canceled its Charlotte schedule on Thursday, effective through "early morning Saturday". The Outer Banks of North Carolina took the initial brunt Thursday afternoon, with parts of Highway 12 - the main road that runs through Ocracoke and Hatteras islands - flooding and becoming impassable.
The U.S. Naval Forces North Command also has deployed ships off the S.C. coast for recovery and rescue efforts once the hurricane passes, said Lt. Cmdr. Among those feeling the impact of the stormwere local farmers, whose tobacco and corn harvests had not been completed.
By early evening, almost 70,000 residents were without electricity, according to North Carolina Emergency Management. "Corn harvest ranges 75 percent in the east to just beginning in the west", said Steve Troxler, the state's agricultural commissioner.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said. Forty inches of rainfall are possible in some areas of North Carolina.
Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water. "Plan to be without power for days". Places that are best prepared to cope with natural disasters are ones where people think about the needs of themselves and their neighbors, he said. This means that the water level will be higher than the number of feet predicted in the storm surge.