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The Raleigh and Durham area to Wilson should see between 5 and 10 inches.

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). The storm is expected to slow down, stall and then perhaps wander just off the Carolina shore as it nears the coast Thursday, Friday and Saturday. "Does this mean we have much less to worry about?"

Another joker said: 'Looks like tropical storm Floyd has penetrated Florence, we will be having a baby shower for the little sprinkle that's due in 9 months'.

Stay weather our around the clock coverage of Hurricane Florence on Spectrum News for the latest information.

"All my staff are gone", Thompson said.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday".

"The farther north and west you are, the less risk you have", WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

The fierce winds of Hurricane Florence are weakening as it creeps closer to North Carolina but the impact of the enormous storm will still be catastrophic for millions of people.

The photos in Gerst's post capture Florence mid-churn, winds up to 130 miles per hour whipping around the storm's eye. Although the latest tracks suggest that the center of the storm will pass to our south, we'll still likely feel some effects as early as Thursday.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.

RESIDENT SOT: "Over the years I have seen the damage these storms can do".

Cpl. Thomas Vest with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said extra officers will be working for the storm.

The waves are produced by being trapped along with incredibly strong winds moving in the same direction as the storm's motion. But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will remain behind at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program. Florence is now a strong Category 2 storm.

Forecasters say those areas could be battered with hurricane conditions for at least 24 hours.

Nighttime winds have gone from 140mph (225kph) to 115mph (185kph), and further weakening is expected as Florence approaches the coast. With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater.

According to analytics firm CoreLogic, the hurricane could wreak more than $170billion (£130billion) in havoc and damage almost 759,000 homes and businesses.

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", Cooper said.

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

While one man concluded: 'We are about to get pounded, but since we have absolutely no control over it, all you can do is laugh, and pray for the best'.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said the hurricane poses serious threats to crops that are just starting to be harvested. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.

Florence is bearing down with such strength that forecasters say she may literally reshape the Carolina coastline. The Category 4 storm is likely to produce "catastrophic" flooding in the eastern Carolinas, as well as destructive winds.