As it gets closer to the coastline, Florence could weaken before landfall. The forecast shows landfall occurring early on September 15, 2018 after an update indicated weather conditions would slow down the storm; the update was issued on September 12, 2018.
Regardless of which scenario actually happens, Florence is a large hurricane and will affect much of North and SC.
Still, high winds will potentially inflict severe or complete damage to buildings, snap tree limbs or even uproot them, and knock power and water lines out.
With predicted rainfall measured in feet not inches, forecasters say people living along creeks and rivers in the Carolinas should move to higher ground well ahead of the storm's arrival.
Those included Topsail and North Topsail beaches in Pender and Onslow counties; Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville beaches in New Hanover County; and "low lying areas and sub-standard housing" in Brunswick County.
Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane.
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In South Carolina, traffic along parts of Interstate 26 and U.S. 501 has been directed away from the coast.
"The longer it stays, the more wind, the more rain".
"I'm scared we'll get 30 inches or more of rain", said Carol Trojniar, 69, a longtime Wilmington resident and retired real estate agent who has never experienced a Category 4 hurricane.
"The biggest thing is you're always anxious about yourself and friends and family - and whether they'll have a place to come back to", he said.
Meanwhile the hurricane is forecast to dump 1ft to 2ft 6in of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and farms.
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CNN are reporting that "This thing is going to stop, and it's going to rain - and it's going to rain". "This is not a pretty sight".
The NHC experts warned that "life-threatening storm surge (is) possible along the coasts of North and South Carolina".
Florence's path remains uncertain.
The hurricane's "cone of uncertainty" shifted south to contain a larger area of southeastern SC this morning - including Beaufort County. "But a storm surge of 20 feet could easily wipe this island out".