AKIPRESS.COM - Hurricane Florence's outer edges have started to batter the coast of North Carolina - with winds of 100mph bending trees and shooting frothy seawater onto the streets, Sky News reports.
More than 80,000 people are already without power, and forecasters have warned that conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore in the early hours of Friday morning.
The hurricane's surge could cover large swathes of the Carolina coast under as much as 11ft (3.3m) of seawater.
Although Florence has been downgraded to a category one storm, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality."
There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey last year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.
Ken Graham, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said: "It truly is really about the whole size of this storm. The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that."
On Thursday evening, Florence's forward movement was just 5mph. While hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles. Overall, the storm is 400 miles wide.