Hurricane Florence seen maintaining strength as it approaches coast: NHC

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Watch live coverage from Gray TV affiliate WITN out of Wilmington, N.C.

The Harford County Humane Society has not taken animals displaced by storms before, but Erin Long, a spokeswoman for the shelter, said her group could try to accept dogs if needed. And she has seen reports of people fleeing to rooftops to escape high floodwaters. "You never know where there are active downed power lines that could cause an electric situation", Parker says.

The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, as it approached North and SC, but officials warned it could still kill "a lot of people" amid the risk of "catastrophic" flooding.

In honor of all this hard work, here are several more memes people sent us about the hurricane.

By hovering over the warm water in the Atlantic Ocean, the storm is being nourished.

From Thursday night through Sunday morning, CNN reported that Florence would travel only 150 miles, or slower than the average walking pace of 2-3 mph.

Hurricane Florence on Friday morning made landfall in North Carolina coast as Category 1 storm, with gales and rains. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

"Even a small prediction error could have major impacts", he said. Hurricane-force winds were extending out up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 195 miles, the center said.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.

"(It's) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Sandie Orsa, of Wilmington, who fears splintering trees will destroy her home.

The National Weather Service is predicting "excessive" rainfall totals, potentially up to 40 inches in isolated areas, as Florence comes to crawl off the coast of the Carolinas before making landfall somewhere near the border of the two states.

The Weather Channel used the high-tech graphic to place meteorologist Erika Navarro in a virtual street, with water levels rising steadily around her.

The water "is as high as it's ever been, and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. "Nothing's hit the house yet, but it's still blowing".

Rescue crews in Onslow County helped evacuate 70 people from a Jacksonville hotel early Friday after the roof collapsed and rain rushed in. "We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue".

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

"There is still time, but not a lot of time", said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and state of Virginia had been urged to evacuate. The town of Oriental, North Carolina, got more than 20 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge.

The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.

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