Weather and emergency officials are warning people in Florence's path not to interpret maps showing the location of the storm's center, or reports that it is losing top wind strength, as signs that they should relax.
Even worse: Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.
The main concerns for us from Florence will be moderately heavy rainfall, which will cause flooded roadways, strong gusty winds, coastal flooding, moderate potential for downed trees and widespread power outages, and risky travel conditions.
Georgia joined North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in issuing an emergency declaration as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of rain - potentially 37 trillion litres - on the southern states.
EPA Superfund site at Bluff Road near Columbia, South Carolina. Officials say they have almost 300 employees on standby.
A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.
Forecasters are predicting the massive storm's relentless rains have the potential to produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding while also contributing to the potential for landslides across the mountains.
Before, the National Hurricane Center feared that Florence would make landfall as a Category 4 storm. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".
Late Thursday afternoon near the Dockside Restaurant, just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Wrightsville Beach, a group of about a dozen local homeowners stood under a pergola amid sheets of rain. Other areas, including the cities of Darlington, S.C., and Greenville, N.C., imposed their own curfews, set to begin Thursday night. "This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina".
Duke Energy in North Carolina manages 31 ponds that store industrial waste from coal mining known as coal ash.
Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.
"This water is through the first floor of your home into the second, you can see there's fish floating around in here."She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew.
There are dozens of permitted hog farms in North Carolina, most of which are close enough to the coast they could experience flooding.
"This time it's important".
Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. "Gracious heavenly father God, just with those in the flood zone, may the damage not be so much", they prayed. Among the tips: Prepare a safety kit and avoid driving through floodwater.
"Especially for people that we've already told to evacuate". Stronger wind gusts are possible for all locations and that may lead to scattered power outages. "We've already got ice; the cooler's packed".
Here are five frightening things about Hurricane Florence that meteorologists are reporting.
"We immediately gave up our hotel rooms so that more rooms are now available to those coming inland", Hunt said. But with the game canceled, Colgate said it will provide those rooms and meals to those displaced by the storm. "But they come and they go in a matter of minutes".