Parts the eastern seaboard of the United States will be deluged with 40 inches of rain and suffer a "Mike Tyson punch" from Hurricane Florence, emergency planners warned today.
"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you", he added.
But in Maryland, possible impacts were diminishing as the storm's track shifted to the south and west. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office said strong winds are "unlikely to be a factor" here, and heavy rain is expected to be a risk only for Southern Maryland and to the south.
Hurricane Florence has changed course, according to the latest weather models.
Like Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Florence is expected to slow significantly when it reaches the coast, allowing the storm to dump a catastrophic amount of rain in the Carolinas.
Residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in to North and SC bringing potentially deadly flooding, officials warn.
"Get out of its way, don't play games with it".
But despite the potentially devastating hurricane, forecast to make landfall on Friday with 130mph winds, people tried to offer some "relief" in the silence before the storm.
Sentara Healthcare Residents from Sentara's Health Center in Currituck, North Carolina, arrive by bus at a larger Sentara facility in Portsmouth, Virginia, away from the storm's path.
The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Wednesday at 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour), down from a peak of 140 mph a day earlier before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind strength.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday".
Over 1.5 million people are under evacuation orders.
Data collected during the flight allows the NOAA to keep a watchful eye on the most powerful storm to date in the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, to research its speed, intensity and structure.
Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.
When the National Hurricane Updates shared a map of the category four hurricane, dubbed "the storm of a lifetime", on Facebook, people were quick to compare the pink round-headed shape displaying the devastation to something a lot less serious.
In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.
Marshall: Well, if it does follow the path of come more toward Charlotte, when can we expect to see the greatest effect here in the Charlotte region?