>> North Carolina, my message is clear. Disaster's at the doorstep, and it's coming in.>> Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a category two storm, but officials warned it's still deadly. On late Wednesday, it was barreling towards the East Coast of the US. And despite the rank down, the punch Florence packs is still serious.
It's bringing a potentially life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall towards the Carolinas. Earlier in the day, disaster preparations had also expanded south into Georgia. The States issued a state of emergency for all counties. North Carolina's Governor warned residents there not to be complacent.>> If you've been asked to evacuate, don't wait.
Leave now. You put your life at risk by staying.>> The National Hurrican Center said Florence was seeing maximum sustained winds off 110 miles per hour, and that the storm had grown in size. It's expected to drive storm surges as high as 13 feet and bring up to 40 inches of rain to parts of North Carolina.
Florence was expected to hit the State's southern coast on Friday, and then drift southwest along the shoreline before moving inland. Since Monday, more than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastal areas in the Carolinas and Virginia. Officials in Wilmington, North Carolina, warned residents they won't attempt to rescue anyone once wind speeds top 50 miles per hour.
President Donald Trump who faced fierce criticism for his administrations handling of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, also insisted they're ready.>> Tremendous people working on the hurricane, first responders, law enforcement, and FEMA. And they're all ready and we're getting tremendous accolades from politicians and the people. We are ready, but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country.
>> Back in the Carolinas, businesses were boarded up and streets looked deserted. As the region hunkered down for what could be the most powerful storm in nearly 30 years.