Here's what the DC region can expect from Hurricane Florence

Here's what the DC region can expect from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely risky and life-threatening storm.

At 8:00 pm (0000 GMT), the eye of the storm was 335 miles (540 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally risky to be outside, Graham said. And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore.

On Thusday morning, shelters in the city already filled-up, with some people were being bussed inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate because of flooding. Hurricane Florence deserves all the names it's being called as it threatens to cause historic flooding, blow catastrophic winds and idle for days over the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic.

"We are ready. We're as ready as anybody's ever been".

Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?

Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC.

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Even from a distance, Florence is expected to bring more sustained easterly winds to the region.

More than a million people have been urged to evacuate from the storm's path.

More than 10 million people are under a storm watch or warning in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall.

All of this has led to fears that the state could face an environmental disaster if industrial waste - including hog manure and coal ash - is washed into people's homes.

TRACKING FLORENCE: Stay with The Weather Network online and on T.V. for our exclusive coverage of the storm.

Florence is forecast to bring storm surge of up to 13ft before slowing down and dumping a large amount of rain upon the heads of those who haven't fled.

"We have extra manpower on the road", Vest said. However, it was projected Wednesday that Florence would shift slightly to the south and possibly hit Georgia as well. As of now, Florence is due to make landfall very early Friday morning, somewhere in the Carolinas.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "It is imperative that everyone follow local evacuation orders".

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