Evacuations now extend to 1 million people in South Carolina - Governor Henry McMaster ordered the state's entire 187-mile coastline evacuated by Tuesday afternoon, reports The Post and Courier. Sustained winds were 130 miles per hour (215 kph) Tuesday morning, but it remains a Category 4 storm and is expected to intensify to near Category 5 status as it slows over very warm coastal waters.
President Donald Trump on Monday night declared an emergency in North Carolina.
Florence's centre was expected to move over the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching North and SC on Thursday. It is expected to make landfall in the US, Thursday as an "extremely dangerous" hurricane according to the National Hurricane Center. Information gathered Tuesday by a hurricane-hunting aircraft suggests it will intensify again as it nears the coast, approaching the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a worst-case Category 5 scenario.
Critics slammed the response to Maria compared to FEMA's response to Hurricane Harvey, which hit the mainland USA around the same time.
Jay Barnes, who has written several books on hurricanes, including "North Carolina's Hurricane History", said Florence has a lot of similarities to Hurricanes Hazel, Fran and Floyd.
The NWS predicts potential storm surges of up to 3.6m on the coasts along with dangerously large swells and rip currents.
North Carolina's football home opener versus UCF is canceled, the athletic department announced Tuesday.
He said the agency has implemented changes since 2017, improving their partnerships with the private sector, in particular fuel, transportation and electrical companies, to better meet needs on the ground after a disaster.
Meanwhile, games affecting Major League Baseball pennant races likely will be impacted by Florence.
"A high pressure system, known as a Bermuda high has been in place, forcing Florence to take a path south and west of what we typically see", Klotz said.
Customers line up to buy propane at Socastee Hardware store, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Sept. 10, 2018.
"If you are now under an evacuation order, we strongly urge you to be cognizant, heed the warning and evacuate", Byard said.
Forecasters have warned the hurricane is expected to strengthen through Tuesday evening into Wednesday, but weaken on Thursday. Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the region of the Carolinas and Virginia late Thursday or early Friday.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference on Tuesday: "This storm is a monster".
Among the many truly fearsome aspects Hurricane Florence poses to the Carolina coast and beyond is a potentially catastrophic storm surge, which some experts say could reach as much as 15 to 20 feet. Isaac became a tropical storm again approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene was veering northward, no threat to land.