Florence has the potential to make landfall Thursday in North Carolina as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 miles per hour winds.
"Regardless of where the storm makes landfall, all residents in Stanly should prepare for this hurricane", said Brian T. Simpson, director of emergency services.
CNN's forecasters warn that Florence could be the strongest and most devastating hurricane to hit North and SC in about three decades.
In North Carolina, evacuations have been ordered in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks and Hatteras, a popular vacation spot, as well as other coastal counties, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday and waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transfer more crops quickly ahead of the storm. While the exact track of Florence remains uncertain, the threat of a North Carolina landfall sometime Thursday into Friday continues to increase.
The NHC also says the storm could become more powerful.
The hurricane center's 11 p.m. forecast did show that Florence's projected path had wobbled slightly northward, but the Cape Fear area remained firmly in the storm's "cone of uncertainty".
Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades. "Already we're getting some overwash, the ocean is coming over 12", she said, referring to the islands' main road.
Historically, 90 per cent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.
Hurricane Florence is hurtling toward the US East Coast.
Hurricane season is in full swing after forecasters predicted that 2018's stint could be as devastating as 2017 when all is said and done.
"The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location was Hurricane Humberto in 2007", he said.
Cooper also said power outages could be widespread and he encouraged people to be proactive in preparing for stretches with no electricity.
The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.