Florence will likely weaken as it moves inland, especially on Saturday (Sept. 15) as it moves over SC, according to National Hurricane Center predictions.
Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.
Over 3,000 offenders were evacuated from North Carolina prisons, along with four county jails, resulting in 300 offenders being housed temporarily in state facilities. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the US east coast as seen from the International Space Station.
Hurricane Florence won't just leave fallen trees and flooded streets in its wake.
The storm made landfall at around 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.
The weather service later measured a storm surge 10 feet deep in the city, which lies on the Neuse River near the Atlantic coast.
At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph (140 kmh), according to the hurricane center.
But forecasters say Florence's biggest threat, as with all hurricanes, lies in its water: a storm surge of up to 11 feet and rainfall that will trigger catastrophic flooding.
In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods. It is expected to turn away from the U.S.
People were tweeting, posting on Facebook and Reddit asking "Is this it?"
Still, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.
"We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said. The fear is that during that slow march west, it'll drop torrential rains, flooding low-lying areas and overwhelming rivers. And she has seen reports of people fleeing to rooftops to escape high floodwaters.
Marson said they'd lost power and the winds were howling outside, but they had enough food and water to last them for days.
Charley English of the American Red Cross said anyone wondering how to help from afar can donate blood, registering first at their local Red Cross websites.
Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning as a category 1 storm and was slowly inching its way inland.
Another said: "Glad to see the weather channel using this kind of simulation in effective ways".
U.S. Southeast power companies said over 634,000 homes and businesses located mostly in North Carolina and SC were without power on Friday after Hurricane Florence hit the coast.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.