"That's true for those along the Carolina coast and even inland". Storm surge warnings, hurricane warnings, and tropical storm warnings are in effect along the coast of the Carolinas.
The "threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days" in the impacted areas.
Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
A Category 2 storm means winds of 96-110 miles per hour; a Category 3 storm means 111-129 miles per hour.
As of 8 a.m. EDT it was centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 220 miles (355 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 12 mph (20 kph). "Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week".
The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9-13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.
The storm was moving to the northwest at 6 miles per hour (9 kph).
"There is still time to leave", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.
"There is going to be a lot of rain".
The head of Duke Energy Corp.'s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company's prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.
Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft (3m) in places. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.
About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported.
Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been told to leave that if they don't, they are on their own.
The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties.
More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports.
As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Doesn't sound like a weak hurricane, does it?
Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for most of the North and SC coastline.
Aside from the storm surge and coastal flooding, expect colossal freshwater flooding as well.