Florence grew into a major hurricane on Monday morning and was upgraded again to a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength at midday as its top sustained wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour.
Beyond the damage from wind and high surf, Hurricane Florence is anticipated to slow over the Carolinas where it might dump up to 30 inches of rain over quite a bit of North and SC.
The fact that Florence could produce a large amount of rainfall as it slowly inches its way north is reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, which decimated Houston and other parts of Texas in August 2017. The storm is expected to bring catastrophic storm surge, destructive winds, and devastating flooding to the state starting and the end of this week.
One year after major storms ravaged the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico, officials warned those in Florence's path not to underestimate the threat the storm poses.
About 1 million people have been ordered to flee the entire SC coast beginning at noon Tuesday.
According to CNN, weather experts say the storm is most likely to hit in the Carolinas. The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare.
Trump warned residents in a series of tweets earlier Monday to heed local guidelines about the storm. SC governor Henry McMaster also suspended his campaign and asked President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration.
The category 4 hurricane is now moving to the west at 13 miles per hour and is expected to begin a turn to the northwest by late Wednesday. Residents in certain areas of both states have been ordered to evacuate their homes.
Public schools and state agencies in 26 counties will also be closed Tuesday until further notice, authorities said.
North and SC are expected to be hardest hit on Thursday, with evacuations ordered by South Carolina's governor Henry McMaster.
The US Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.
As Hurricane Florence intensified into a major, Category 4 storm in the Atlantic Ocean today (Sept. 10), astronauts and satellites have spotted the enormous weather system from space.
"Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia".
According to the NHC, the region is facing "life-threatening" storm surge, freshwater flooding and damaging hurricane-force winds. Tropical storm force winds extend 150 miles from the center.