As Carolina officials are warning residents: leave, now, or else you're on your own.
Elder relatives carry as much weight as meteorologists in a tight-knit community of slave descendants on the SC coast.
"You put your life at risk by staying".
People in North Carolina and SC have the daytime hours Thursday to complete their final preparations to ride out or escape the storm.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.
President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. Forecasters predict it will make landfall between Thursday and Friday. "Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated", he said.
Slower movement means a hurricane has more time to inundate a region with rain and storm surge.
It is important to recognize that while attention will be focused on coastal impacts from Florence, inland flooding will remain a problem for some areas well into next week.
The National Hurricane Center has, accordingly, warned of "Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians late this week into early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland".
Normally when we talk about the potential for hurricane damage, we talk about the impact of storm surges and high winds - both of which are, to be sure, incredibly risky in their own right.
All four major U.S. airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost.
"It's going to be bad", said Mr Woody White, a county commissioner. "Flooding is nearly guaranteed".
Next week, when Florence has finally passed the Carolinas and moved into the Ohio Valley, the rain will have been the big story. She packed up what she could and took a ferry.
"When that last ferry pulls out ... it's unnerving to see it pull away and know, 'That's the last chance I have of getting off this island, '" she said Wednesday. "On this track, we would still get flooding rain anywhere from 4-6" over the mountains/foothills and Charlotte area, to 6-10+ in our eastern counties and parts of upstate SC".
Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this image of Hurricane Florence from the space station on September 12, 2018. "It's chilling, even from space", European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst said in a tweet on Wednesday. So, the winds will be winding down much quicker near the coast before those winds get up here. "That varies from one storm to the next", he said. But if you're interested in seeing what the storm looks like when it approaches, check out the webcams listed below.
A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). This storm is going to be a direct hit.