Grand Strand sees first power outages as Hurricane Florence nears coast

Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 2 still threatens millions of homes

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. "We know that this is an extremely risky situation", Cooper told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.

Qlik analyzed branch data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and compared it with the National Weather Service's storm-path forecast and the probabilities that certain areas would see tropical storm-force winds.

Storm surges are not included in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which categorises hurricanes, the category of the hurricane does not correlate with the level of storm surge.

The first thing you think of when you hear the term "hurricane" is high winds, but they invariably bring about flooding, and this is due to the storm surge.

North Carolina and SC are bracing for the onslaught, which could bring storm surges as high as nine feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas.

The National Hurricane Center says that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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The storm's center was about 170 miles southeast of Wilmington at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a National Hurricane Center briefing.

"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence. "Until we can't. See what happens".

Baker said the rain will bring damaging flash flooding to all areas of the Wilmington region, not just low-lying areas that are particularly vulnerable. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave".

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the US East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110mph - slower than yesterday but covering a wider area. However, as the storm continues to track south, rainfall totals could increase. On an island like Puerto Rico, which has limited health care and other types of infrastructure, a hurricane's downstream effects can prove even more devastating than the initial surge.

"This is a life-threatening situation".

But for those that do get hammered, customers could lose access to their local bank's services for days or weeks, depending on the extent of the damage. More flights were expected to be grounded and more airports were preparing to shut down operations as the storm moves inland.

On Tuesday, less than 20 hours after McMaster issued an evacuation order for Beaufort County, the governor rescinded the order for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties, not including Edisto Beach.

Read Thursday morning's traffic update here. Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern. Residents of Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties were told they would not need to evacuate with residents on the rest of the coast.

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