Meteorologist Christina Speciale said that as of Wednesday morning there is a "50 to 55 percent" chance that Beaufort County experiences tropical-storm-force winds starting sometime between Friday evening and early Saturday.
North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper said: "The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen".
If some of the computer projections hold, "it's going to come roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say, 'I'm not sure I really want to do this, and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground forecasting service.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
At 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph.
On Wednesday, we got an inside look at the planes at Lakeland Linder Airport.
The National Hurricane Center Tuesday afternoon increased its rainfall forecast to 15 to 25 inches of rain and 35 inches in isolated spots.
Hurricane Florence is so enormous, we could only capture it with a super wide-angle lens from the Space Station, 248 miles directly above the eye. It was also expected to slip briefly back into the open water during the journey. Shortly afterward, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts to 105 miles per hour at Wilmington International Airport, the highest wind gust measured in Wilmington since Hurricane Helene hit the port city in 1958.
"It brings multiple threats, including a massive storm surge at the coast, as well as a potentially catastrophic inland flood situation".
"Stocks tend to fall in front of a storm because of uncertainty", said Sandler O'Neill analyst Paul Newsome. "This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
While thousands chose to flee the coast, others hunkered down.
She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home. "So, there's not a lot of capacity to soak up the extra water", Samson said.
As for people staying put, the authorities used to advise that people get three days' worth of supplies, but now it's best to get two weeks' worth of supplies, Sue Anne Bell, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of MI, told Live Science.
They showed us instruments that function nearly like weather balloons, that are dropped into the storm to gather data that satellites can't. Plus, they'd be there in the morning if first responders needed them.
President Trump and his administration are buckling in for Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane expected to slam into the Carolinas by Friday. Workers at Florence Toyota in Florence, South Carolina, plan to pull high-value luxury vehicles into the service bays on Thursday to protect them.