By late afternoon, the centre of the storm was about 25 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
"The Charleston area now is expected to see at least 1-2 inches of rain over the next several days".
Richmond has moved its scheduled home football game this week against St. Francis to the Red Flash's field in Pennsylvania because of Hurricane Florence. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".
Predictions from the National Hurricane Center also showed the Brunswick plant to be in an area that could be affected by storm surge - seawater forced inland by the storm's winds.
As of 11am local time, Florence was centred about 145 miles south east of Wilmington and its forward movement slowed to 10mph.
Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds now extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.
Elsewhere in the nation, the East Coast is preparing for Hurricane Florence, which will be a major storm. Damaging winds could also spread well inland in those states and into Virginia, the hurricane center said.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.
"I think we're as ready as we can be for the upcoming severe weather", Moe said.
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"The time to prepare is nearly over", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at a Wednesday morning news conference.
"Don't relax; don't get complacent".
"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks". "Today's the day", he said.
A high-definition video camera outside the space station captured stark and sobering views of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm.
But while wind speed offers an easily quantifiable way to rate risky storms, forecasters are warning people not to fixate on that, saying that saltwater from the storm surge and freshwater from heavy rains pose a serious threat, no matter what the top winds are when the hurricane makes landfall.
Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached. Airlines canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.
"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.
The two hardware chains said they sent a total of around 1,100 trucks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.
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.
"Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated", he said. "I was in the same house and it stood fine".