Hurricane Florence has already proven to be not just powerful and destructive but wildly unpredictable. More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centres were moved out of the storm's path.
Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, its 90-mph winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.
So, what can we tell for certain about what the National Weather Service has called the "storm of a lifetime"?
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and risky. Helene is expected to then weaken and poses no threat to the United States, as of the center's 8 a.m. advisory.
NewsHour has also published maps of flooding predictions for the coast. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". That's high enough to cover a house not on stilts. While winds blow onshore Friday through Monday, rainfall runoff will pile on top of the storm surge in some locations, particularly around inlets where rivers drain into the Atlantic Ocean, like Cape Fear and Jacksonville. But these winds combined with a giant storm surge and deluge of rain are brewing havoc along the coast.
Does it matter that Florence is moving slowly?
Torrential rains brought about significant flooding in some areas, with the rains expected to continue over Oahu through Thursday.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached Wilmington, with weather officials saying the storm will bring unprecedented rain to the region. Projections as of 5:00am EST on September 13, 2018. Massive rainfall is predicted, with totals of 20-30in (50-76cm) in coastal areas of the Carolinas and up to 40in in isolated areas.
Why is it getting bigger?
In April, The State newspaper in Columbia reported that an Army investigation had faulted Fort Jackson officials' handling of a 2015 storm that caused an 80-year-old earthen dam to crumble and release 100 million gallons of water. Hurricanes feed off the heat in the warm surface of the ocean and typically lose power when they hit land.
"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence. It is expected to turn away from the U.S.
Tominack said he is seeing extremely strong winds, but he has not yet had any issues with flooding.
In a display of the early effects of the storm, one flood gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, showed 10 feet (three meters) of flooding, the NHC said.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm.