The 8 a.m. forecast on Hurricane Florence reinforces projections that the storm's path will shift slightly to the southeast as it closes in on the Carolinas.
"Heed the warnings", said Byard, adding there was "well over $20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund. With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater.
Several schools in the FOX8 viewing area have closings and delays this week ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?
It was the second such drop in the space of hours, but the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.
People fleeing North and SC clogged coastal highways early Wednesday as Hurricane Florence, a monster Category 4 storm, bore down on the USA east coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes. Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall is expected across portions of North and SC.
TIMELINE | Florence now looks to menace parts of Georgia; When will we see its effects? In addition to giving residents enough time to make it out, North and SC have enacted emergency price-gouging laws to keep business and gas stations from upping their prices in the lead-up to Florence's arrival.
Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a slightly weakened but still unsafe Category 3 hurricane. "This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
President Trump is receiving regular updates on the situation.
If you're not under evacuation orders, Ready.gov recommends having at least three days' worth of food, water, medications and emergency supplies for people and pets.
With the storm churning across the Atlantic with 140 miles per hour winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says damaging winds and rain could begin hitting the coast late Thursday, pushing a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places.
The ground in Athens already is saturated from the 27 inches of rain that fell since April, so flooding remains a possibility as a result of Hurricane Florence, according to King.
A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone to flee.
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