Hurricane Florence is poised to affect more than 10 million this week in the southeastern U.S.
Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update.
"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday (Sept. 12) and Wednesday (Sept. 13), and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday", according to the NHC.
Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 480km ahead of its eye, swirling clouds that could deluge states from SC to OH and Pennsylvania as it slows and then stalls over land.
In announcing his evacuation order, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing the coast.
According to the National Weather Service, other evacuations along the Outer Banks will go into effect on Tuesday.
As Paul Flaherty flew over Hurricane Florence, he didn't like what he was seeing.
With Hurricane Florence expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, we have a new update on Nebraskans who are making their way to the coast to help. SC is one-waying several interstates including I-26 out of Charleston.
Hamrick confirmed on Monday that he has been in communication with SC athletic director Ray Tanner to discuss potential contingency plans as Hurricane Florence makes it way toward the Carolinas.
Ocracoke Inlet tot he North Carolina-Virginia border could see 3 to 5 feet.
Hurricane Florence is packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and higher gusts on Tuesday morning. "Get ready now", he said.
"This one is hard", she said, having been through hurricane damage before.
The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam predicted "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".
For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.
North Carolina's governor urged people to learn what evacuation routes to take and put fuel in their vehicles in case they're ordered to leave. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.
"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned.
The storm will first pass over the North Atlantic Ocean, then pass between the island of Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Monday that President Donald Trump had a briefing call at the White House about Hurricane Florence with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Beaufort County public schools will be closed Tuesday through the rest of the week, a school district news release said.
Hurricane Isaac - which late on Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.