"This storm is a monster".
Scientists hypothesize that a warmer world will bring slower storms, so what we saw last year with Harvey - and now this year with Florence - could be a sign of those changes. Here conditions can seem oddly calm, while the storm rages around the edges.
On its current track, Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, the NHC said. Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states.
If anyone left out there doubts Florence's sheer capacity to wreak havoc in the coming days, this NOAA satellite image (from former NASA scientist and Professor Marshall Shepherd) should do the convincing.
Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?
The wide storm weakened to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday and forecasters expect it to weaken further as it nears the shore.
Waves measuring 83ft (25m) tall were recorded at sea on Wednesday morning. Below, you can see a time-lapse of the moment it entered the eye of the Category 4 hurricane.
Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways with a giant dose of uncertainty on top. And if local officials recommend evacuation, evacuate immediately.
"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks". The losses won't be easily or quickly overcome.More news: Indian nuns demand arrest of bishop accused of rape
It was located 575 miles (925 kms) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 mph (28 kph) in a west-northwest direction. There are now fewer tourists to send away.
Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.
A large rain cloud passes over a day before the arrival of hurricane Florence in Wilmington, N.C. on September 12, 2018. So, the winds will be winding down much quicker near the coast before those winds get up here. SC has also canceled classes through at least Saturday due to the storm.
Mr Long said the hurricane would be a "devastating event" and urged Americans to evacuate if they've been asked to leave their homes.
When put in a position of danger, a lot of people are still finding comfort in just laughing it off. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast.
Some Florence evacuees are steering toward Bristol Motor Speedway near the Tennessee-Virginia border and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where campgrounds have been opened for people fleeing the storm.
Eight dogs and 18 cats from a shelter in Norfolk, Virginia, were sent to two shelters in Washington to make room for pets expected to be displaced by the hurricane.
Residents near coastal areas have been given evacuation warnings, although Raleigh is a bit inland so Weaver and her family are going to remain at home to wait out the storm. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track but stayed north of what most computer models were showing to prove some continuity with past forecasts. "Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different".
Aside from safety concerns, Atlantic Coast Conference schools face scheduling obstacles, monetary implications and bowl considerations.