Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.
In North Carolina, all Hatteras Island residents and visitors were ordered to evacuate starting at noon Monday, according to Dare County Emergency Management.
The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway.
Although the focus on where Hurricane Florence makes landfall is drawing lots of attention, another looming threat could be the worst impact of this monster storm: disastrous, deadly flooding from days of relentless rain.
NHC Director Ken Graham warned of "staggering" amounts of rainfall that may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.
"From eight o'clock 'til two we were slammed", said Johnson, who sold scores of bags of sand over the weekend, saving just a few to barricade the store's own doors.
A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30C, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.
"We expect Florence to transition from a small-sized hurricane to a large hurricane by the time it reaches the coast", Kottlowski said.
Hurricane Florence has been quickly strengthening Monday and is on route to severely impact the Carolinas at the end of the week.
Rising water tidelines could surge to as high as 12ft between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, north of Carolina Beach.
When Florence will reach the USA, he is the hurricane of the 4th category out of five, say.
McMaster estimated about 1 million residents would be fleeing the coast before Florence's arrival.More news: FDA takes action against e-cigarette epidemic among youth
North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia coasts could experience prolonged hurricane-force winds and rain.
The West Virginia-North Carolina State game was scheduled to start a few hours later in Raleigh, located about 30 miles east of Chapel Hill.
On its current track, Florence is expected to slam South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia the hardest.
"We are in the bull's eye", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters on Monday.
The storm is poised to affect millions this week in the southeastern U.S. Here's what should you know about the hurricane's path.
Cameras outside the station captured views of Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic at 8:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 10.
The move also closed state offices and schools in the eastern half of the state, including Lexington and Richland counties, where tropical storm-strength winds are expected as early as late Thursday.
Hurricane season continues through November.
SHAPIRO: Wilmington, N.C., is now in Florence's path.
"I think this is very Harvey-esque", said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy.