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The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) as the monster storm moved in for an extended stay along the Southeastern coast, promising to drench the properties of 10 million people with huge amounts of water.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper urged residents to remain alert despite changing forecasts. "We will have catastrophic effects".

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

'Where else I got to go?'

The core was also about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

At 2300 EDT (0300 GMT), the NHC said Florence had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km), and was slowly drifting westward over SC.

A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina, and a warning was in effect for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

U.S. television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach.

Areas to the north and south of the Carolinas will also feel the impact of the massive storm.

It's expected to stall around the South Carolina/North Carolina coastline into Friday night and then drift toward Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Oddly, the closer Hurricane Florence gets to land, the murkier its future gets.

The NHC notes that amount of rainfall would "produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

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Hurricane Florence to deliver 'life-threatening' surges and rain despite downgrade
North Carolina resident David Hoffman has heard all the mandatory evacuation warnings as Hurricane Florence gets closer. The storms path is promising to bring even more devastation than first predicted to the Carolinas and parts of Georgia.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that there are now 96 New Zealanders officially registered with SafeTravel as being in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Four electric linemen from Naperville's Department of Public Utilities will take time off their duties in the city to work with electrical contractors after the storm arrives, said Linda LaCloche, spokeswoman for the city of Naperville.

"Inland flooding will be a major threat and something people far from the landfall location should be concerned about", Miller said.

As it moves inland, areas like Raleigh, North Carolina and Norfolk, Virgina are expected to experience tropical storm weather, which is just slightly less powerful than hurricane weather.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Reports from North Carolina noted that Florence's winds have started to lash the coastline on September 13.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH tourists Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

"We call them disasters because they break things", said FEMA's Long.

"I have video games, board games, movies, if we still have power", he tells McCammon.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.