30 foot waves were recorded off North Carolina's coast early this morning, with forecasters warning that conditions are set to deteriorate as the hurricane makes landfall. "We have an old jail building and there was a sally-port where vehicles could drive down into it and it's basically a big hole and water did go into that hole but we are safe in this facility".
Florence is moving toward the northwest near 6 miles per hour.
"This general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected through today".
Rain is expected to begin in Charlotte late Friday evening and into Saturday.
As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Slower movement means a hurricane has more time to inundate a region with rain and storm surge.
Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm, is slowly approaching the USA coast, and the storm's massive fury is on full display in video footage taken from the International Space Station.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Virginia and Georgia are also under states of emergency, but it's North and SC that are positioned to suffer the worst of the storm's wrath.
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Overall, the storm is 400 miles wide.
The National Hurricane Centre said: "A NOAA observing site at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 68 miles per hour (109 km/h) and a gust to 90 miles per hour (145 km/h)".
For 62 years, Robert Faircloth has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the briefing said. Tropical-Storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles from the center. The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.
Unfortunately, the people of that entire region will get hammered by Florence's prodigious quantities of water.
"Everyone should remain out of the water", said an advisory from the National Weather Service. "We're about to be in the thick of it".
The winds of Hurricane Florence weakened as the storm prepared to hit the U.S. East Coast, but forecasters warn the storm's overall size and its ability to push ashore a storm surge while dropping tremendous amounts of rain make it a threat to the lives of those in its path.
As of 9 a.m. Thursday, Hurricane Florence has grown in size to almost 650 miles wide.
The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave. "We've just never seen anything like this". "Everybody laughs at the fact that this storm got downgraded. but I've never seen tree devastation this bad".
The centre of Florence, which is no longer classified as a major hurricane but still posing a grave threat to life and property, is expected to strike North Carolina's southern coast on Friday.
Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm late Wednesday.
Aside from safety concerns, Atlantic Coast Conference schools face scheduling obstacles, monetary implications and bowl considerations.
The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". What also makes this hurricane extremely unsafe are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.