Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a category two storm as it barrels toward the Carolinas, but the National Hurricane Center on Thursday, Sept. 13, warned that the surges caused by the hurricane could be "life threatening."
Duke Energy believes that as many as seven million people could lose power during Florence.
An American flag is flying high above the Frying Pan Tower, whipping in the howling wind 34 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, as Hurricane Florence makes its approach toward the coast.September 13, 2018
Brock Long, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's administrator, said that the "storm surge is not a problem just around the coastline." The forecasts, he said, "indicate feet of rain, not inches."
"In a matter of hours, you're going to see the outer bands push water up against the coast," warned Long. "Your time is running out" to evacuate.
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While Florence is expected to slow down as it makes landfall late Thursday or early Friday, the storm is particularly dangerous since weather experts, such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Neil Jacobs, expect the storm to stall when it hits land. The stalling could mean that the Carolinas experience hurricane-force winds and rain for upwards of 24 hours.
The NHC released an update on Florence at 2 p.m. ET.
Florence is 110 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina and around 165 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The winds are around 105 miles per hour.
As of the 11 a.m. ET update from the NHC, Florence was around 145 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, and 195 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The NHS expects a storm surge of around six to nine feet from North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Cape Fear, North Carolina.
The NHS also announced the possibility of a few tornadoes developing in North Carolina because of the storm.
"A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline," the NHC said in its 5 a.m. update. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."
On Sept. 12, MorningStar Credit Ratings identified 339 properties that fell within a 100-mile radius of where Hurricane Florence is supposed to make landfall. The total amount of these properties surpasses $2.81 billion.
The NHS will release another advisory at 5 p.m.
This story will be updated as the storm moves toward land.
Martin Baccardax contributed to this report.