• Major energy provider Duke Energy, North and South Carolina, warned that the storm could destroy the power supply of up to three million customers in the two states. It could take several weeks to restore power to everyone, the company said.
• The authorities made every effort to get everyone out of harm's way – "Do not risk your life when you're leaving a monster," said Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina – but some Hurricane Holdouts who had never fled a storm before, were determined to ignore the warnings. Read why they stay.
• Lawmakers in North Carolina are again facing criticism of a 2012 law that has led the authorities to ignore increasing sea-level rise due to climate change. The law has helped to sustain the rapid development of the coasts. Read more about the controversy here.
• Florence was a Category 4 storm, then a Category 3 and now a Category 2. Here is our guide on how to classify hurricanes and why a change in category does not tell the whole story.
• So you can prepare to evacuate your home before hurricane Florence.
• Are you on the way of Hurricane Florence? We want to hear from you.
Try to eliminate the hurricane holdouts
Federal, state and local officials, who have been trying for days to warn people on the trail of Florence of the possible violence of the storm, have on Wednesday made some of their strongest requests for people to get out of harm's way.
"We know many of our coastal residents have ridden storms before," said Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina during a Wednesday night news conference. "That should not be one of those storms, do not risk your life when you're ripping out a monster."
In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster said that an estimated 300,000 people had already followed the call for evacuation, and he expected that up to a million refugees would flee from Florence, especially as forecasts showed a shift that could increase the flooding effect on his state.
"This is a dangerous storm," Governor McMaster said. "It's unpredictable."
Will Haynie, Mayor of Mount Pleasant, S.C., said that residents of his city off the coast should leave as soon as possible.
"You have the power to give this situation a certain degree of certainty, by observing the evacuation order," he said. "If you choose to go out of your way, you have more control over your destiny than you do if you choose to stay here."
[Read more here about the hurricane holdouts who choose to ride out the storm at home]
A Charleston device decides to leave
Former mayor of Charleston, S.C., Joseph P. Riley Jr., who served ten terms from 1975 to 2016, decided to set a good example for his former constituents by leaving the city with his wife Charlotte.
Many of her neighbors would have decided to stay here, he said, expecting to be able to withstand a few meters of storm surge. But Mr. Riley, 75, said Wednesday that he and his wife had decided to roll up some of the rugs, put them on the second floor, and get out. There were just too many possibilities that worried him.
"Our kids are grown and they're gone," Mr. Riley said. "And then we have my sister-in-law who lives in Camden, she's always happy to see us, and it's nice to visit her."
The current mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, reiterated these thoughts and urged people to avoid the heavy rains, wind and floods expected in his city in the coming days. "It's going to be a lousy weekend here," he said, "and it's going to be a good weekend to be somewhere else."
Worrying about the storm
Duke Energy estimated that up to three million in energy could be lost, based on modeling from previous storms and the planned route from Florence. That figure would make up about 75 percent of the company's more than four million customers in North and South Carolina.
"People could be out of power for a very long time," said David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina.
The company said about 20,000 workers were ready to respond after the storm, including 1,700 additional Midwest-based Duke workers, 1,200 from Florida, and 9,400 workers from other utilities to Texas.
The company said it would also monitor its Brunswick nuclear power plant near Wilmington, N.C., which could face hurricane force wind, significant storm surge and rain. In Brunswick and some other factories, workers were forcing loose rubble and inspection equipment in anticipation of the arrival of Florence.
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