Over at Sumter's Emergency Operation Center, officials from the American Red Cross, Sumter Fire Department, Sumter County EMS, Sumter Police Department, Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the local Department of Social Services office were preparing for 24-hour operations with tropical storm-force winds from Hurricane Florence expected to arrive in the Sumter area Thursday evening or Friday morning. As The Weather Channel noted, storm surges of nine feet or higher could be catastrophic, powerful enough to move cars and cover the first floor of buildings.
"So this is a very risky storm", said Mr Long. That would put this in as one of the highest rain events in Charlotte's history.
This same zone will be hammered by winds gusting up to hurricane force for almost a day while tropical-storm conditions could linger twice that long.
"I'm not leaving my child", Foster said.
Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.
Panovich: The thing about hurricanes is the number one killer is storm surge and water.
North Carolinians made last-minute preparations and hunkered down to await Florence's arrival.
Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events.
But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".
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The center of Florence is expected to approach the coasts of the Carolinas today and move over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC tonight and Friday. In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.
Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".
Dozens of North Carolina school districts were closed, as well as almost all schools in the University of North Carolina system.
About 1.7 million residents across the states' coastlines are under mandatory evacuation orders, and tens of thousands of hospital patients and prison inmates have been moved out of Florence's path. After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria. "Today the threat becomes a reality", he said. They also have three dogs and three parrots.
Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios, medications, water and food on hand, Hayes said. We will continue to see lingering showers and storms to start the work week.
"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.
Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.
On Monday, with the storm appearing to shift south, McMaster, the SC governor, ordered schools in Aiken County, near the Georgia line, to close for the rest of the week to free up shelter space for hurricane evacuees.
Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.