- Hurricane Florence continues to gain strength while steadily making its way toward the East Coast.
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).
Despite the potentially devastating hurricane being downgraded to category two on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the governor of Georgia has joined his counterparts in Virginia and the Carolinas in declaring a state of emergency.
ESRI created a tracker to estimate just how many people would be affected by the storm's path given key demographic data from the area inside the error cone.
The last time the U.S. capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.
"The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds, flooding is the deadliest result of these storms".
The National Hurricane Center's projected track had Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast starting Thursday night before finally blowing ashore.
Many North Carolina residents say, they don't want to leave.
The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia.
The storm's winds may have weakened in recent days - they are now at 110mph (175km/h) - but there are fears Florence's slow-moving nature could bring different problems. "This is not going to be one of those storms that hit and move out to sea".
Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast.
"He was thinking of coming here until this morning, and now he asked me if I wanted to come up there", he said.
Rainfall will accumulate near 2 feet in North Carolina. "We're going to stay tight and check on everybody", he said.
Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. The aircraft are four-engine turboprops, created to not only survive in storms but also study them.
In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, including from the Eastern Shore.
By 8pm Thursday evening, the storm will veer off in a southwesterly direction away from Virginia and into SC.
The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.
NASA NASA / Reuters A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station, September 12, 2018.
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Executives in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia declared emergencies earlier in the week. The hurricane is expected to dump heavy rain throughout the region and FEMA officials said it's not just a coastal problem.
By evening, the storm was centered about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina , the NHC said. Forecasts call for 25-38 cm of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected .
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