Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches (one meter) of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and SC.
The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Although its peak winds diminished, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded. "We just need to figure out how to make it through". "This is just a odd bird".
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. The more it stalls, the more it rains.
It's this putrid horror that North Carolina is faced with, as Hurricane Florence barrels its way to the USA coast.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.
The storms path is promising to bring even more devastation than first predicted to the Carolinas and parts of Georgia.
Panovich: The other interesting thing is in Charlotte our biggest impacts might be felt more Friday night into Saturday, and we will certainly see some wind on Friday but I think the rain may be kind of scattered about on Friday and the heavy stuff doesn't really move in until Saturday.
If these projections hold, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says "it's exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".
An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, said Marc Chenard of the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.
Saturday's scheduled game between SC and Marshall has been canceled.
"A motion toward the northwest is forecast to begin by this afternoon and continue through Thursday", the hurricane center says.
Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty. "So many weird/outlandish solutions - but that's what happens when the steering currents collapse".
Marshall: When should we now expect landfall along the coast?
Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.