NORTH CAROLINA (CNN) - The flooding in North Carolina began Thursday as the outer bands of massive Hurricane Florence lashed towns on the barrier islands and on some of the Tar Heel State's rivers.
In Morehead City, the rain and surf pounded the shoreline and took aim at the few boats still in the water. In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN correspondent had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising.
Still to come are the hurricane-force winds that cover more than 15,000 square miles -- larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
The area covered by hurricane-force winds recently doubled -- meaning far more people will get blasted with winds topping 73 mph.
"If you're going to leave -- and you should leave, if you haven't left yet -- you should leave now. ... Time is running out," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Thursday afternoon.
What also makes Florence extremely dangerous are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.
And don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a strong Category 2 hurricane. Categories only represent the speed of sustained winds, and these are still destructive.
Meteorologists from our sister stations along the East Coast are providing live updates twice daily on our website. The next update is 6:00 p.m. You can watch their live discussion below:
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