An estimated 10 million people live in the storm's path, according to the US Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation.
"As it tracks towards the United Kingdom it will degrade - it will become an ex-tropical storm".
We've pulled together some of the key elements that explain why officials are so anxious, and what damage Florence could cause. The storm was a risky Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm Thursday. It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland as local governor Roy Cooper urged locals to flee the "monster" storm - and nuclear power plants prepare to shut down. "We've been in contact with Georgia Southern, and I'm sure we'll continue to speak today as things continue to develop".
According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the US mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians".
"Once those high winds get here.it will be very hard, if not impossible, for anybody to come rescue you if you are in harm's way in one of those zones", McMaster said at a news conference Wednesday. "Not only that, but the wind field actually expands as the center of circulation starts to lose some intensity, you'll start to get hurricane force winds further out from the storm".
States Prepare for ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ as Hurricane Florence Looms
Florence is expected to make landfall between Thursday and Friday. "It's time for our citizens to be a part of the team". The major airlines out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are bracing for Florence's impact on the east coast.
Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.
Florence could do more than $170bn (£130bn) of damage and affect almost 759,000 homes and businesses, says analytics firm CoreLogic.
The U.S. Naval Forces North Command also has deployed ships off the S.C. coast once the storm passes for recovery and rescue efforts, should support be needed, said Lt. Cmdr.
"This is no ordinary storm, and people could be without power for a very long time - not days but weeks", a president of one energy company in North Carolina said on Wednesday.
Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. "Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall expected". These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast.
Of those who left, more than 4,000 had sought housing at emergency shelters across the state.
Ferry service from North Carolina's Bald Head Island already has stopped.
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Dead hogs and chickens were pictured floating in the floodwaters, which had been polluted with agricultural waste and petrol.
She said the property, which stands atop stilts, is fully insured through the federal flood insurance program, though the couple hadn't yet considered whether they will rebuild if Florence, or some future storm, wipes it away.
A line of heavy traffic moved away from the coast on Interstate 40, the main route between the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, and inland Raleigh.
"I'm a beach girl", she said. "What can you do?"
This is why you don't mess with Mother Nature.
A delicatessen owner in the same town told Reuters that he was also going to stay.
Officials say Hurricane Florence could bring not only flooding but also landslides to SC. "It's going to happen".
Alli and Lloris ruled out
Tottenham are fifth in the Premier League after they lost 2-1 to Watford, while Liverpool are top, having won all four games. He added: "Lloris will have another scan to see the evolution of his injury".