Officials have warned that Hurricane Florence, which has lashed parts of the United States’ East Coast since Thursday, has the potential to kill “a lot of people”, BBC reported on Friday. More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

The National Hurricane Center lowered the threat of the storm, making it a category one hurricane as wind speeds have slowed down. However, the hurricane centre said that the storm remains dangerous because of heavy rainfall.

“Hurricane Florence is producing a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions over portions of eastern North Carolina,” the NHC said. “The threat of freshwater flooding will increase and spread inland over the next several days.”

Emergency has been declared in South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia and the District of Columbia. At least 12,000 people had taken refuge at 126 emergency shelters, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. However, some residents have refused to evacuate.

“Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that’s what we’re about to see,” Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long said on Thursday, according to BBC.

More than 100,000 people in North Carolina were without power, Reuters quoted emergency management agency as saying. Roads in Outer Banks barrier islands were already waterlogged. “We call them disasters because they break things,” FEMA Associate Director Jeff Byard said, according to USA Today. “The infrastructure is going to break.”

US President Donald Trump said FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement were supplied and ready to tackle the hurricane. On Thursday, the president rejected the government’s assessment that nearly 3,000 people died after the deadly Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last year. He accused the Democrats of inflating the numbers to dent his image when he was “successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild” the island.