Meteorologists are forecasting that Florence will continue to pick up speed before making its landfall between SC and North Carolina on Thursday as a category 3 or higher hurricane.
The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as risky rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, and this year was forecasted to have a slightly above-average number of storms.
The flood advisory applies to downtown Wilmington and the lower Cape Fear River.
Preparations intensified up and down the densely populated coast.
The National Hurricane Center's next update on Hurricane Florence is scheduled for 11 p.m. Tuesday morning's data from hurricane-hunting aircraft supports this forecast, the center said. Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday.
Hurricane Florence was located south of Bermuda as of the National Hurricane Center's 8 a.m. report. Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane Florence is carrying winds of up to 140 miles per hour as a Category 4 storm.
It said that this motion is expected to continue for the next few days. Spots with the highest risk for rip current formation are breaks in sandbars and near structures like terminal groins, jetties and piers, but beachgoers should stay on alert everywhere. The latest Category 4 to hit the Carolinas was Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Maximum sustained winds are 130 miles per hour but the storm is expected to strengthen. "But on rare occasions, the steering patterns can line up such that a storm slips into a dead zone between troughs and ridges".
Some meteorologists are already predicting that Florence "could be one of the worst storms in us history".
There were no backups on US 278 over the Hilton Head bridges through Bluffton, or on S.C. 170, according to the Beaufort County traffic camera system.
Many are fearing Florence could be equivalent to Hurricane Harvey which hit the U.S. past year, which resulted in 107 deaths and cost $125 billion in damages. "The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at FEMA, that the public is probably not as prepared as everybody would like", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Everyone should start preparing now".
Hurricane Isaac has seriously weakened recently due to the wind shear in the Atlantic.
"The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely risky hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", the hurricane center said. Its projected landfall is "still fluctuating depending on which models you look at".
"We're just making plans to secure the hotel and get on the road as soon as possible", Binot said last night.
Authorities warned of life-threatening coastal storm surges and the potential for Florence to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding, especially if it lingers inland for several days.
The US military is taking precautions as well.
In a tweet Monday, President Donald Trump urged the "incredible citizens" of the Carolinas and the East Coast to prepare for Hurricane Florence. And Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas, while some coastal counties in North Carolina have done the same.