More than 870,000 without power as Florence lumbers inland

A high definition camera outside the International Space Station captured a NASA view of Hurricane Florence

Storm surges of 9 to 13 feet and rainfall up to 40 inches: those are two of the most dire warnings about Hurricane Florence's effect on parts of North and SC.

On Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than SC and North Carolina combined".

As if that weren't enough, an natural disaster also hit SC about 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

New Bern in North Carolina has been severely flooded as Hurricane Florida caused the Neuse River to overflow its banks.

Even though Florence has weakened to a Category 2 system with winds of 165 km per hour, forecasters say the storm remains a destructive force.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities, though most of the city was without power and thousands of buildings had been damaged, said Roberts on Friday.

A very slow or meandering movement of Florence will translate to long-duration high winds, storm surge and demolishing wave action.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering unsafe flooding, toppling trees, cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses while causing at least five deaths.

The NHC warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rain could trigger landslides in the west of his state.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years", Duke Energy incident commander Howard Fowler said in a statement.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.

The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia could see 5 to 10 inches, with some isolated areas seeing 15 inches. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding in Virginia and the Carolinas.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee.

As the Carolinas braced for the storm Thursday, roads and tourist shops were closed, regional flights were canceled and residents who didn't evacuate were working to protect their property against the severe weather ahead.

Some areas along the North Carolina coastline could get up to 40 or 45 inches of rain.

Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of the nation's capital, has declared a state of emergency.

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers".

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to Cape Hatteras, NC, and the Pamlico Sound.

For days, coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds, coastal erosion and storm surge, while Inland areas will be poured upon.

Storm surge isn't the only worry associated with the storm, either.

"Minor fluctuations in strength are likely to continue with factors related to nearby land areas, warm waters, wind shear and the overall large size of Florence", according to AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshal Moss.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Some homes and businesses may be washed away on the barrier islands and along the immediate coast near and north of the storm center along the coast by dozens of miles.

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