Its maximum sustained winds slackened slightly to 125 mph, qualifying it as a Category 3 storm, but its wind field has grown, with hurricane-force winds extending out 70 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds stretching as far as 175 miles from the storm's center.
Businesses across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia will likely suffer financial losses from the approaching storm, with ports closing, farmers moving their livestock and expected power outages that could last for weeks.
The storms path is promising to bring even more devastation than first predicted to the Carolinas and parts of Georgia.
And there's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles (80 kilometers) off shore versus heading inland immediately, Landsea said.
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"There's really not a lot of good news", NOAA flight director Paul Flaherty said on "Shepard Smith Reporting".
Here are five recent images featuring Hurricane Florence. "If they're telling you to leave, you have to leave", Graham said.
Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center.
The new trajectory means the storm will idle at sea for longer, creating even heavier and prolonged rains and storm surges for the Carolinas and possibly northern parts of Georgia.
North Carolina resident Roberto Guzman carries belongings from his mobile home as he leaves Wilmington a day before the storm is due to strike.
Cpl. Thomas Vest with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said extra officers will be working for the storm.
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Randall Hill / Reuters Lisa Evers (Foreground) and her daughter Amanda Hamilton, both of Oak Island, decorate their storm shutters before evacuating ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Oak Island, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018.
"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.
It is then expected to drift southwest along the shoreline before moving inland on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
But the biggest danger could be life-threatening storm surges. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (815 km)". Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit". In Virginia, officials have evacuated one state prison, though local jails in the affected area are planning to keep inmates in place after stockpiling food and fuel, the Virginian-Pilot reports.
"If you aren't under evacuation orders, now's the time to finish preparations and get ready to hunker down", Cooper said.
Dont play games with it: Florence takes aim at Carolinas
Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge. Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.