The Associated Press contributed to this article.
UAE residents and tourists in the United States have been issued a warning by the UAE Embassy in Washington to be cautious of Hurricane Florence.
A National Weather Service forecaster said: "This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast". Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example of this devastation.
Jeff Byard, who is the FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, said that Florence is "a very unsafe storm", Fox News reported.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to issue his own warning. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm. Large death tolls are possible as these ocean levels rise.
Florence is headed straight for some of the most well-known military bases in the country.
Forecasters said wind speeds have dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph), reducing it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 2, and additional fluctuations and weakening were likely as it swirled toward land.
Storm surges up to 3.9 meters (13 feet), the possibility of tornados and nearly a meter of rain in some areas of North and SC were expected when Hurricane Florence makes landfall late Thursday. The losses won't be easily or quickly overcome.
Hours later, Mr Trump approved emergency declarations for both coastal states, a move allowing the release of federal funds and equipment to help protection and recovery efforts. There are now fewer tourists to send away.
Emiratis in USA warned as Hurricane Florence approaches east coast
President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is " as ready as anybody has ever been ". Across several eastern states, residents scrambled to leave as the Category 4 storm, with winds of 225kmh, approached.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Florence's heavy rains could cause an environmental disaster if waste from hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites washes into homes or threatens drinking water supplies. And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore.
Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.
The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have all declared states of emergency ahead of Florence.
As Florence closed in, some residents weighed whether to ride it out. Smaller enclaves of Gullah, referred to as Geechee in some areas, are scattered along the Southeast coast from North Carolina to Florida.
"Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE", he wrote.
What would you take if a major hurricane was threatening to inundate or pull apart your home?
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination. Evacuees also loaded up their vehicles with extra gas cans, their pets, coolers filled with sandwich meat, family photographs and blankets.
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.
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