Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters), the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned. The map below shows the greatest impacts in North Carolina and along the eastern coastline, as far south as Charleston and as far north as New Jersey. Damaging winds could also spread well inland in those states and into Virginia, the hurricane center said.
Hurricane Florence continues to churn toward the us mainland with potentially highly destructive winds and enough rain to thoroughly drench and possibly flood much of Eastern North Carolina.
Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph).
A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and OH, and even up to the New York City area - although there's only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north.
The storm is now 845 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. A Storm Surge watch means the possibility of "life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland" over the next 48 hours.
Cooper said local governments are typically responsible for issuing evacuation orders in North Carolina, and some localities have already issued orders to evacuate. "People are doing a pretty good job now".
Around the same time Florence makes landfall, the steering winds pushing it forward will die down. President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday evening.
"We can not emphasize the importance to take action now", he said.
"I'm confident our student-athletes will adjust to this change", UCF head coach Josh Heupel said.
He said Congress would be generous with disaster relief funding. We're waiting it out now.
Hurricane Helene is heading north to open sea and now poses no danger to land after the storm hit cooler waters in the Atlantic.
North Carolina and North Carolina State canceled high-profile home games against ranked non-conference opponents and Virginia moved a home game to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday due to the approach of Hurricane Florence.
Even before it officially arrives, Florence will push tall waves far ahead of it. Farmers will be using the next several days to prepare for the storm, he said.
Florence is also expected to bring heavy flooding across the region. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches (150 centimetres) for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said.
It includes transporting supplies, equipment, fuel, or people to and from the areas hit by the storm.
Florence could be only the second Category 4 storm to pummel the Carolinas since 1800, when record-keeping began. But the storm is expected to strengthen again over the next day or so.
If it makes landfall as predicted, Florence could become the northernmost Category 4 hurricane to hit the US since records were first kept in 1851. It's expected to be the worst in the region since Hurricane Hazel made landfall near the North Carolina-South Caroline border in 1954.
"The levels are in pretty good shape to handle the rain, but it all depends on how much rain we get", Ashby said. "This rainfall could produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding".
Watches in effect Tuesday forecast a storm surge of up to 12 feet at high tide from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.