Weather Channel uses mixed reality to show the effects of a hurricane

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SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Landfall will likely occur late Thursday night or early Friday morning as a category 2 hurricane, with winds around 105 miles per hour.

The graphic, which aims to illustrate the dangers to viewers who may be downplaying how bad the storm is likely, presents what Navarro calls "reasonable, worst-case scenario" for Hurricane Florence, before she is slowly dwarfed by over 2.5 metres of water.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1".

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

"We're seeing on social media, we're seeing comments and calls coming into our hotline that people are saying, 'Oh, it's only a Cat 2.' Well, only a Cat 2 has winds of up to 96 to 110 miles per hour", Derrec Becker, spokesman for the S.C. Emergency Management Division told The State on Thursday.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding.

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

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A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

Morehead City is located in Carteret County, North Carolina, along the beach.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina. "It's a big one", he said at the White House. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income".

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. While hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.

Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service forecasts minor to major flooding along rivers anywhere from the Carolinas to Maryland in the coming days.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 metre). "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said.

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It was unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Pointing to "meaningful actions" taken by officials from Norfolk and Hampton, Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina and New Jersey, Pilkey proposed barring future beachfront development, raising existing buldings, demolishing or relocating those that face imminent threats, prohibiting the rebuilding of structures destroyed by storms, and preparing for "an organized retreat from the rising sea".

With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

"I'm not leaving my child", Foster said.

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - $2 for a 16-pound (7.2-kilo) bag.

"I'm not going to lie: I'm scared", she said.

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