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Hurricane Florence slows to crawl as it batters Carolinas by Steve Almasy, Holly Yan and Gianluca Mezzofiore September 13,2018   |  Source: CNN

The flooding in North Carolina began Thursday as massive Hurricane Florence slowed down and its outer bands lashed towns on the barrier islands and on some of the Tar Heel State's rivers.

In Morehead City, the rain and surf pounded the shoreline and took aim at the few boats still in the water. In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN correspondent had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising.

Some areas also saw the first of the hurricane-force winds that cover more than 15,000 square miles -- larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

The area covered by hurricane-force winds recently doubled -- meaning far more people will get blasted with winds topping 73 mph.

"If you're going to leave -- and you should leave, if you haven't left yet -- you should leave now. ... Time is running out," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Thursday afternoon.

What also makes Florence extremely dangerous are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.

And don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane. Categories only represent the speed of sustained winds, and these are still destructive.

"I don't care if this goes down to a

 

© 2018 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc

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