September 13, 2018 08:22 AM

Hurricane Florence has weakened to a Category 2 storm — but the worst is still yet to come.

As the storm comes within 235 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina, its winds are down from 140 mph to 110 mph, CNN reported. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland are all at risk of experiencing the storm, which will arrive late Thursday or early Friday.

North and South Carolina officials pleaded with more than 1 million residents in the storm’s path to evacuate, according to CNN.

A man boards up a window in Greenville, North Carolina
Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“The time to prepare is almost over,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Disaster is at the doorstep.”

RELATED: Southern Charm Stars Evacuate Charleston as ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ Hurricane Florence Nears

“The thing to do is get away from the storm — you gotta get away from what’s coming,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster noted, according to the newspaper. “At some point, the rescuers will not be able to rescue you.”

Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP

Still, some people are refusing to leave. April Ellis is staying put in Goose Creek, South Carolina, because she and her fiancé will not get paid if they do not return to their jobs after the storm is over, she told Fox News.

“Being a family on a budget with a 15-year-old son and two animals, evacuating for a storm, it’s like going on a mini-vacation,” Ellis told Fox News. “It requires money that we just don’t have.”

RELATED: Hurricane Florence: How to Prepare for ‘the Storm of a Lifetime’ According to a Meteorologist

A woman and child sleep at a high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, after they were evacuated
Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People stay at a shelter after leaving
David Goldman/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Nicklaus Cox, another South Carolina resident, added to Fox News, “Without knowing the extent of damage the hurricane could cause, we couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel for a long period of time should it come to that.”

RELATED VIDEO: Bethenny Frankel On Helping Hurricane Victims One Year After Devastation: ‘It’s Changed My Life’

Others want to leave but are having trouble. Mark and Donna Welke — visitors to Charleston, South Carolina, from Illinois — tried to find a car to rent after their flight was cancelled, USA Today reported.

Early on Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful. Be careful!”

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