Washington, Sep 14 (Prensa Latina) Tropical depression Isaac is moving towards the west of the Caribbean Sea at 26 kilometers per hour and will decrease its speed of translation during the next few days, the National Hurricane Center of the United States reported.
However, forecasters say the storm's biggest threat is how much rain it is expected to produce.
"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.
In addition to inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 9 feet (2.7 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches (1 metre) in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.
Forecasters say wind speeds have dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph), reducing it to a Category 2 storm.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the eye of the hurricane will likely not blow ashore until Friday afternoon local time, after which it will then push westward and bring with it the potential for catastrophic inland flooding.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.
Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga.
The full impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.
By early Saturday morning, Florence is expected to have weakened to a tropical storm, and by early Sunday, it will be a tropical depression.
Bridges, airports and ferry services in the affected areas face closure if winds grow too violent, while roads and rail routes might also be cut off. At that time, Isaac will be a strong tropical storm with top winds of 60 miles per hour.
On that path Isaac will move across the central Lesser Antilles and into the Caribbean on Thursday. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm.
The storm was heading for the coast of the two states but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.
No. 3 USA railroad operator CSX Corp provides service to the Port of Wilmington and will close the gates at its intermodal terminals in Savannah, Charlotte and Jacksonville on Wednesday evening, stopping inbound and outbound truck container traffic. The NHC is encouraging officials in northeastern Mexico, Texas and Louisiana to monitor its progress.