Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.
"The Detention Center can withstand sustained winds up to 155 miles per hour", Roger Antonio, a spokesperson for the Charleston County sheriff's office, told Buzzfeed. It is expected to stall and hover over the Carolinas, dumping enormous amounts of rainfall on the region, and causing massive destruction and flooding.
CBS New York chief weathercaster Lonnie Quinn reports the worst part of the storm is the front right quadrant because you get the highest winds and the storm pushes that water onto the shore.
It is now heading northwest at approximately six miles per hour.
The storm has slowed down and is forecast to travel across SC after it makes landfall. "All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come". People in the Carolinas had the daytime hours Thursday to complete their final preparations to ride out or escape the storm.
The health-focused disaster relief organization, Americares has already deployed a response team to North Carolina ahead of Florence.
Although the storm is approaching the US coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle.
Surges up to 4 meters could inundate Cape Fear, North Carolina to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, with smaller surges ranging from half a meter to 3 meters in coastal areas from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to coastal areas extending north into North Carolina.
Pablo Santos, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told VOA that when the center of Florence comes ashore and shifts north as expected, it will still be "catastrophic" due tin a large extent to the storm surge.
Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris
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Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon.
Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga.
Some people, such as Jennie, are refusing to heed evacuation warnings.
Because most are managed as wild animals, numerous horses will be left to fend for themselves, said Paula Gillikin of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. "If God's coming for you, you can't run from him". She packed up what she could and took a ferry.
Still, a storm surge can overwhelm the animals, as it did in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel killed five horses and swept three others a few miles away.
More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands have moved to emergency shelters.
On Thursday, schools and businesses were closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty.
The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.
"We'll handle it. We're ready. But we're going to be okay", he said.