More than 1.5 million peoplehave been told to evacuate Virginia and the Carolinas ahead of the expected landfall of Hurricane Florence, which has strengthened to a category 4 event that the National Weather Service has said is "the storm of a lifetime" and Roy Cooper, North Carolina governor, more bluntly called "a monster".
As of Thursday at 5 a.m., forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said wind speeds have dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph), reducing it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 2.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. "Everyone was sold out", she said.
Florence is headed straight for some of the most well-known military bases in the country. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Rain and strong winds are the biggest threats from Florence, Garner said.
"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The state has set up the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund at rebuild.nc.gov to accept hurricane relief donations, Cooper said. State officials have said the inmates are safer in the prison than they would be in an evacuation.
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Shepard Smith and Flaherty said reports showed storm surge from the system is likely to be felt dozens of miles inland, including along the Neuse River Basin - which stretches inward from New Bern toward Rocky Mount and Nashville, N.C. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storms aftermath, it said.
Forecasters say it could slow dramatically when it nears land and then linger until Saturday, moving unpredictably along the coast and bringing torrential rain.
The storm, packing winds of 110 mph, is just 235 miles off Wilmington Beach South Carolina and 280 miles off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
According to analytics firm CoreLogic, the hurricane could wreak more than $170billion (£130billion) in havoc and damage almost 759,000 homes and businesses. And if local officials recommend evacuation, evacuate immediately.
"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge".
In Charleston, South Carolina, some residents were making preparations to leave Tuesday while others planned to ride out the storm.
More than 1.5 million people have been told to flee their homes as Hurricane Florence barrels toward The Eastern seaboard.
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