Here is the newest information on Hurricane Florence as it lands on the East Coast.
But the NHC also said tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 195 miles (315 km) from its center, leaving a swathe of the US eastern seaboard vulnerable, much of it low-lying and stretching from Georgia north through the Carolinas into Virginia.
"I can't emphasise enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge and inland flooding with this storm".
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Florence packs sustained winds of 105 miles per hour.
Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).
"Florence core winds dropping but the storms strong wind is spreading out, Eye trying to reform, A big risky widespread storm". Catastrophic river flooding and flash flooding will occur for a large portion of eastern North and SC.
More than a thousand flights have been canceled in advance of Hurricane Florence's arrival in the Carolinas, and operations at airports along the coast have been suspended as the region braces for impact.
The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.
Hurricane Florence continues to move towards the Carolinas, and a landfall across southern North Carolina near Wilmington is expected Friday morning into Friday afternoon.
As of 6 a.m., Florence was 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing North Carolina would see the equivalent of up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period. But authorities warned it will still be an extremely risky hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation.
Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water". Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
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Prisoners were affected, too.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to remain alert despite changing forecasts.
It's unclear exactly how many people evacuated, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
The National Weather Service out of Columbia, along with the National Hurricane Center, has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Clarendon County, along with Chesterfield, Lee and Sumter counties.
By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.
It is moving at 15 miles per hour and is expected to slow down later tonight.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water. We have to remember, Florence is a very large storm.
A similar-strength hurricane, Maria, struck the island of Puerto Rico previous year, resulting in the deaths of almost 3,000 USA citizens.
As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.
"We'll operate without power; we have candles".
"Get prepared on the East Coast", European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst wrote, "this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you."
Others were at home hoping for the best. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.