Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as 40 inches (1m) of rain, to Virginia.
On Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center issues storm surge warnings for the areas around the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the South Santee River in SC. More importantly, this would make Florence drift westward after stalling instead of northward, which would impact rainfall totals.
Thousands of residents in North and SC have fled their homes as Hurricane Florence, the biggest of the extreme weather conditions on the map, looks set to tear its way through the eastern seaboard. "This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
Urging residents to evacuate, Byard said Florence was "the strongest storm to target the Carolinas and this part of the country in decades".
The NWS predicts potential storm surges of up to 3.6m on the coasts along with dangerously large swells and rip currents. Winds this strong could knock some trees over and potentially knock out power.
"The South Carolina National Guard is on the frontline of support", said U.S. Army Maj.
Meanwhile, as scientists continue their debate, Hurricane Florence is set to cross seas a degree or more warmer than normal on its path to the United States east coast.
"The time to prepare is nearly over", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at a Wednesday morning news conference.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the Category 4 storm is expected to hit the Carolinas with huge maximum wind speeds of around 140-130mph (215 kmh). This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area. Hugo in 1989 was the one before that and was a Category 4 at landfall. Flooding caused 50 of the 56 US deaths attributed to Floyd and much of the damage, which was estimated at up to $6 billion.
Paula Matheson of Springfield, Oregon, got the full Southern experience during her 10-week RV vacation: hot weather, good food, attractive beaches and, finally, a hurricane evacuation.
"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the hurricane center said.
At least 25 people died in North Carolina, and damage in the state was estimated at $4.8 billion.
Ottawa urged Canadians to avoid all travel from Edisto Beach in SC to the North Carolina-Virginia border due to hurricane Florence. It could also unleash a catastrophic storm surge, possibly reaching more than 20ft high, depending on the tides when it hits land.
Rainfall of up to 35 inches is expected in some places.
Forecasters say the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, and approach the coast of the Carolinas in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday.
The exact path and timing of the storm can change.
Officials in Virginia Beach have announced that several shelters have been opened ahead of Hurricane Florence's arrival.
The latest NOAA model for the storm adds a new layer of concern for people in the Carolinas, where Florence seems likely to hit at this point.