Hurricane Florence from space: photos of the hurricane showed in the NASA

Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it moves west

Its trajectory showed its center most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

Fears about Hurricane Florence spread south on Wednesday, with Georgia declaring a state of emergency after officials in the Carolinas urged people to evacuate the coast ahead of the storm's expected pounding winds and rain-driven floods.

He warned residents to make preparations and heed evacuation orders, warning that electrical service could be lost for several days.

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

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia while schools and factories were being shuttered.

The hurricane could also produce heavy and excessive rainfall - up to 40 inches in isolated areas in the Carolinas and anywhere between 6 to 12 inches elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region.

Hurricane Florence is on track to blast the southeastern USA coast with ferocious winds and rain, but it may also swamp hog manure pits and coal ash dumps, spreading their toxins; as well as inundate nuclear reactors in the region, according to news reports.

He cautioned residents to closely monitor Hurricane Florence.

States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

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. Now hurricane "Florence" waiting in Washington, where he also declared a state of emergency.

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence has inundated USA coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and forecasters say conditions will only worsen as the hulking storm slogs inland.

The storm's centre is expected to slow when it reaches inland, meaning it could rain for days in places and some areas could see three feet of rain. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.

On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward. The storm's forecast has shifted southward in the last 24 hours.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that Fema and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

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