Astronauts on International Space Station showcase power of Hurricane Florence in photos

A hog waste lagoon in Pennsylvania

A hog waste lagoon in Pennsylvania

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast. Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 miles per hour.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall late Thursday night or sometime Friday.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bulls-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service's storm forecast shows a chance that Florence's track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week.

A storm surge watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC, and for north of Duck, NC, to the North Carolina/Virginia border. The steering currents that are moving the storm along are expected to collapse, leaving the center of the storm drifting over the same area for up to a week.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, which decimated parts of the Gulf states and Texas in 2005 and 2017 respectively, cost more than $125 billion.

Remember that when Superstorm Sandy was coming onshore in New Jersey in 2012 our winds in northeast Georgia were strong enough to cause scattered power outages and at least one injury in the area from falling tree limbs.

Deal cited the storm's "forecasted southward track" in a statement declaring a state of emergency.

Jeff Byard, FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, called Florence "a very risky storm".

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, including from the Eastern Shore.

On Wednesday morning, the president urged those in the path of Florence to "get out of its way".

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