Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina

Ocean water rushes down Cape Hatteras Pier Drive in Frisco N.C. on Hatteras Island as the effects of Hurricane Florence reach the area on Thursday

A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

While more than a third of U.S. bank branches could feel the brunt of Hurricane Florence, the chances aren't high for many of them - for over 14,000 the probability is less than 5%.

While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC.

Although Florence has been downgraded from a category four to a category two storm, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., September 13, 2018.

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing North Carolina would see the equivalent of up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period.

The US National Hurricane Center described how winds of up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) per hour were pummeling the state of North Carolina.

The storm is not expected to change much in strength before making landfall.

Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

At this time, the outer eyewall of Florence was making landfall in the the area of Wilmington, N.C.as a Category 1 hurricane.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

The head of Duke Energy Corp.'s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company's prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power. The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says. It has also moved most ships, submarines and planes out their base at Hampton Roads, Virginia, to safety far at sea or in distant airbases.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

If you're anywhere near the affected regions or have loved ones in the deadly Category 2 storm's path, make sure to keep track of what government and other storm trackers are advising. "If you're called to go, you need to go".

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.

"This is an absolute life-threatening scenario".

"We'll handle it. We're ready. We're able", he said.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina announced an evacuation of the Outer Banks, a popular tourist destination.

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