The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia.
Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC.
Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding. The winds had been as high as 140 miles per hour earlier in the week. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas. Hundreds of thousands of people have already evacuated. Although downgraded to a Category 1 storm, the hurricane has grown larger and slowed its march inland - factors likely to contribute to potentially catastrophic flooding.
Will Epperson, 36, a golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm in his home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.
Over 770,000 were without power in North Carolina Friday night.
Duke Energy urges its customers and all members of the public to follow warnings and guidance from local, state and federal officials.
Florence was 155 miles (250km) east of Myrtle Beach in SC at 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT), and is projected to make landfall on Friday at 08:00 local time. Gov.Cooper said he has activated 2,800 National Guard troops to help with storm relief with more personnel on reserve.
Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of most of the state's coastline as the storm approaches. Virginia has also issued evacuation orders.
China orders more lending to entrepreneurs amid trade fight
The 30-year Treasury bond reached a four-year high of 3.424 percent, and was at 3.4054 percent at the US close on Friday. The US Federal Reserve move to increase the interest rates also sparked fears of more capital outflows from China .
In Sea Breeze, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptized because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" after the storm.
Moulson said she initially planned to leave, but as the forecast for Florence weakened and shifted southward, she chose to stay. "I've been living down here for a really long time, so this one's OK".
Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that was later downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a Wilmington hotel several miles inland. About 14,000 people are in shelters, officials said.
In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible. A surge of at least 4 feet is predicted for a much larger area.
The latest forecast model from theNational Hurricane Center is predicting between 1 and 4 inches of rain will fall in parts of CT and NY.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.
The rest of South and North Carolina, including cities from Charlotte to Raleigh, can expect 6 to 12 inches of rain - and up to 2 feet in isolated areas, the NHC warned. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.
The news of an DHS IG investigation into Long comes as the country prepares for Hurricane Florence, a Category 2 hurricane that's expected to hit the Carolina coasts hard.