Closing in with terrifying winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kph) and potentially catastrophic rain and storm surge, Florence is expected to blow ashore Saturday morning along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, the National Hurricane Center said. President Trump said the hurricane is predicted to be one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in years as he warned residents to be prepared and to be careful.
As of 11 a.m., the Category 4 storm was centred 485 miles (785 kilometres) southeast of Wilmington, moving at 15 mph (24 kph) with the potential for 1 to 3 feet of rain in places - enough to touch off catastrophic flooding and an environmental disaster, too, if the water inundates the region's many industrial waste sites and hog manure ponds. There are concerns that it could knock out power for weeks.
Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.
Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".
"The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.
Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area.
A state of emergency has been declared in both North and SC. Eventually, Florence will veer north into the Appalachian Mountains, bringing soaking rains to Virginia and western North Carolina, before sputtering out late next week near DE and Maryland, the FWS reported.
This is the third time SC has had to cancel a game due to weather in the last four years.
Although its peak winds diminished, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded.
"I rode out Hugo", Miller said of a 1989 hurricane that caused widespread damage.
James Fuller helps board up his friends house in Swansboro, North Carolina on September 12, 2018 in advance of Hurricane Florence. "Now it might be time for the exam", Baxley said late in the morning. "Protection of life is the absolute highest priority and that's what we are doing".
"If you aren't under evacuation orders, now's the time to finish preparations and get ready to hunker down", Cooper said.
"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.