Hurricane Florence: Residents told to 'heed the warnings'

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While Hurricane Florence has sparked state of emergency and mass evacuation, a very unfortunate weather graphic has managed to put a smile on those preparing for the storm.

"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you", he added.

Due to the storm's enormous size and power, it's been a recent - if not frightening - muse for astronaut photography.

Shelves at a store in Raleigh, North Carolina, emptied of supplies as people stock up ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge.

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It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

"Don't play games with it".

The pivot in the forecasted track of Florence led Georgia's governor to declare a state of emergency for all 159 counties, home to 10.5 million people. Its maximum sustained winds slackened slightly to 125 mph, qualifying it as a Category 3 storm, but its wind field has grown, with hurricane-force winds extending out 70 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds stretching as far as 175 miles from the storm's center.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Florence is now expected to make a slightly earlier arrival near the border of North and SC early Friday.

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Duke Energy, the second-largest energy company in the United States, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas. Right now the storm does not have a lot of speed behind it, so the rainfall will likely be extensive along the coastal areas, with historic flooding predicted there.

Her children are adults now and live out of her home, and her husband is caring for their two dogs while she is hunkered down in Roper.

In Houston, 20 elderly residents had to be rescued from waist-deep water in their nursing home after Hurricane Harvey dumped record amounts of rain on the region.

Rick Leuttich directs the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Science Morehead City, and is one of the principal developers of the ADCIRC coastal circulation and storm surge model.

If some of the computer projections hold, "it's going to come roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say, 'I'm not sure I really want to do this, and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground forecasting service.

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