Forecasters say Florence, the first major hurricane to take direct aim at the USA mainland this year, could batter coastal areas with whipping winds, torrential rain and storm surges as high as 9 feet.
More than 16 inches of rain have fallen in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way, the hurricane center said.
Its new path indicates that after arriving in the area near Wilmington, North Carolina, the storm will dip to the south before resuming a western course, the FWS explained in the statement. Another one of the bears ended up in the middle of the street in the background.
Blowing ashore with howling 155km/h winds, Hurricane Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.
But the NHC warned that Florence still poses a deadly threat to a wide stretch of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, from southern Georgia into southern Virginia, and remained capable of unleashing rain-fuelled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
Storm surge watches and warnings are separated from hurricane alerts because hurricane-force winds and storm surges don't always occur at the same place or the same time, said Rick Knabb, the former director of the hurricane center, and now the hurricane expert at the Weather Channel.
Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.
But the change was probably temporary and didn't do anything to lessen the danger, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It could linger along the Atlantic Coast, dumping massive amounts of rain before drifting inland and bringing its heavy rainfall across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic states by early next week.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.
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Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation?
The damage occurred even though Sandy spun ashore as the equivalent of only a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of about 80 miles per hour, and was downgraded below hurricane status shortly thereafter.
Almost 2,100 flights have been canceled through Saturday.
North Carolina's governor's office said a third person was killed while plugging in a generator.
Eudy's family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".
More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power September 14 morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. The downtown area was underwater.Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and tide rolled in, city public information officer Colleen Roberts said.
"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, a county commissioner. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.
"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".
"But I'm staying", she said.