"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said, "and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew".
Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, is less than 48 hours from making landfall on America's southeastern coast, where more than a million people have been ordered to flee their homes. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".
The storm will slow down because of pushback from a trough - an extended area of low atmospheric pressure - now over Texas, Stacy Stewart, an NHC senior hurricane specialist, said in the update. More than 2,000 Florida utility workers were also sent to help restore power after the storm hits.
As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.
The East Coast is bracing for Hurricane Florence as it continues to strengthen.
Warmer than normal sea temperatures to add energy and rain to a storm.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.
Governor Deal said yesterday: "The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence". Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different.
"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.
Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.
"The longer it stays, the more wind, the more rain".
Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.
"It's kind of scary, but now that it's dropped to a Category 3, it's really not bothering me that much", she said.
At least 25 million residents are at risk from the storm and experts predict its current path could cause up to $170 billion worth of damage, hit up to 759,000 homes and businesses and become the costliest storm to ever hit the U.S. "You feel like you should have already left". But despite that, bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size.