"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses", Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night.
The rainy summer has already caused some flooding at the zoo, so Kottyan said it has already identified problem areas on the grounds and is taking measures to guard against additional flooding from the hurricane, such as blocking animal stall doors with hay bails.
The city had issued an evacuation order.
After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.
Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. She plans to continue to ride out the storm.
The Category 1 storm is slamming the Carolinas, knocking out power for hundreds of thousands and bringing the threat of catastrophic flash floods and life-threatening storm surges.
The NHC said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 195 miles out.
The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.
More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate before the streets became inundated. "We just want people to be very careful".
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While Zone A is a mandatory evacuation zone, a city spokesperson said they would never force anyone to leave.
The simulation even includes a vehicle floating behind her as Navarro warns that rising water levels "could even float some cars". Duke Energy, a local power company, estimated that up to three million customers could lose their supply as a result of Florence.
"I said, 'Why get on the road like this?"
The worst may come as the gargantuan storm swirls past the shore and dumps days of rain on mountainous interiors, potentially creating disastrous mudslides.
On social media, people caught in the storm are posting dramatic videos of flooding and high winds.
Those living on the United States east coast have been boarding up their properties, stockpiling supplies and some have left their homes as the Category 2 storm heads toward land. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometres).
Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach at around 7:15 a.m. EST.
Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. A woman named Bree tweeted: "If anybody could help. our cars is under water and so is our house stuck in attic". First responders urge residents to get out though, because this storm is unlike the others.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.