Florence is about 644 kilometres wide and it's winds have dropped from a peak of 225 km/h to 165 km/h, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a Category 2.
A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.
Hurricane Florence is now expected to slow down and turn south after making a roaring landfall along the East Coast, a forecast that could have dire consequences for SC, meteorologists said Wednesday.
"Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in". He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week.
Experts say the lagoons should be able to handle about 3 feet of rain, but hog farmers, who have been trying to pump manure out of the ponds and spray it on fields as fertilizer, aren't convinced.
Florence is moving 16 miles per hour northwest with a maximum sustained wind of 120 miles per hour and the eye is expected to first land in southern North Carolina near the SC border.
SC and North Carolina are evacuating people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.
Georgia's governor has declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for all Georgia counties as Hurricane Florence nears certain parts of the state.
The schools made the announcement Wednesday, citing the forecast for deteriorating weather conditions and Virginia's state of emergency declaration.
Hurricane Florence is still hundreds of miles off the U.S. East Coast, but insurers are starting to see their potential costs from one type of claim mount as companies halt operations to let employees flee.
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"This one is different", North Carolina's Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents, "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster". "And if that's the case, it would continue to be over warm water and it would (retain) its hurricane status a little while longer before weakening into a tropical storm".
"Stocks tend to fall in front of a storm because of uncertainty", said Sandler O'Neill analyst Paul Newsome.
Young estimates the storm surge to be between 15 and 20 feet.
While some of the computer forecasting models conflicted, the latest projections more or less showed the storm shifting southward and westward in a way that suddenly put more of SC in danger and imperiled Georgia, too.
Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday.
"Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated", Trump said.
In anticipation of the winds and water, 1.7 million people living along the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm. Thinking of the outages likely to come, it also warns to use grills and generators outside - away from doors and windows.
Jeff Byard, FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, called Florence "a very risky storm".
The hurricane is expected to make landfall somewhere in the Carolinas early Friday.
Satellites orbiting Earth have also been keeping tabs on Florence from above.