Flooding from Hurricane Florence swept across the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm surged toward the coast, threatening record rainfall and leaving scores trapped by rising waters.
The Charlotte area will likely begin to feel some tropical storm force winds and gusts from Florence late Thursday night as the outer bands make their way farther inland.
In North Carolina, Florence is expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain and storm surge will be high.
Her neighbors gave her the key to their house, which is two stories and might be safer from flooding, she said. Instead of roaring ashore and quickly heading inland and weakening, as most storms do, Hurricane Florence should instead "stall near the coast and then parallel southwestward toward Georgia", Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Postel said.
In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump said the government "got A Pluses" for storm recovery in Texas and Florida and "did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico". "This is in addition to him claiming a couple days ago that Hurricane Florence is the 'biggest to hit our country". Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting.
"We expect those numbers to rise significantly over the next 24 hours, as the storm approaches and airlines finalize their operations plans", said Sara Orsi, a spokesperson for FlightAware.
As the storm continues to track toward western North Carolina and upstate SC, heavy rains in the mountains could trigger mudslides due to the region's topography, Cline added.
Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them.
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Farther south, in Carolina Beach, the northern end of the town was being swamped as waters crashed over the dunes.
Where is Hurricane Florence now?
Officials in the potential path of Florence urged people to evacuate their coastal homes and directed drivers away from the coast.
Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.
"I'm lucky to be here today, but wherever they're going to send me I'm going".
All four major United States airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.
The storm's possible track now bends farther to the SW and closer to cities like Jacksonville, but it's the delay and the possible repeat of a Harvey-like storm cycle that has officials and weather forecasters anxious.
In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers. It's expected to bring tropical storm conditions and up to 5 inches of rain across the Windward Islands, Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.