The White House tweeted: "Hurricane Florence poses a catastrophic threat to millions living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia".
In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.
Myrtle Beach's Ocean Boulevard was practically empty at midday on Wednesday, September 12, as the SC town prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.
The first severe winds from Hurricane Florence are still expected to hit the Wilmington area around Thursday at 2 p.m., with the eye striking the Wilmington area on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m., according to most recent update from the National Weather Service (NWS); you can read the most recent NWS update here.
It is predicted the Carolinas could begin feeling tropical storm force winds early Thursday. Myrtle Beach is within an area under a hurricane warning that ran from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, at 2pm local time. Closer to Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro the forecast is a bit more uncertain.More news: EPL: Arsenal provides latest injury updates ahead of Newcastle clash
Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses could be flooded in North Carolina alone, Governor Cooper warned.
In fact, as with the aftermath of previous hurricanes, the region could eventually receive an economic boost once construction crews come out to rebuild and fix damage and as insurance payments and federal disaster aid flow in.
As of 8 a.m. EDT, the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington states have all already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.More news: USA reached out to China for new trade talks, sources say
Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).
Meanwhile, the projections for rain are growing, adding to growing concerns about flooding across the two states: Coastal North Carolina now expects 20-30 inches, with isolated areas of 40 inches projected in SC.
Some of these reactors - including Duke Energy's Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina and Dominion Energy's Surry plant in Virginia - may be directly in the hurricane's path, Reuters reported.
Small said the precautions have worked in previous hurricanes, but he said he remained wary of the flooding potential from the storm with the same name as his town. "It's going to happen".
Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.More news: Pauline Hanson calls girl 'brat' who doesn't stand for national anthem
"We've been sold out for a while now and we just basically tell them that when people call", Ring said. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together".
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