The shopping list for people who have made a decision to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine.
We've pulled together some of the key elements that explain why officials are so anxious, and what damage Florence could cause.
But the NHC warned that Florence still poses a deadly threat to a wide stretch of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, from southern Georgia into southern Virginia, and remained capable of unleashing rain-fuelled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.
"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.
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So how are these people preparing?
And now, the US Weather Prediction Center says 10million people on the east coast are expected to be placed under emergency advisories as the Cyclone barrels its way to the coast, with landfall expected today.
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Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
"I just hope that people will not decide to write off the storm, and that's the most important thing to save peoples's lives".
Marshall: Well, if it does follow the path of come more toward Charlotte, when can we expect to see the greatest effect here in the Charlotte region?
According to analytics firm CoreLogic, the hurricane could wreak more than $170billion (£130billion) in havoc and damage almost 759,000 homes and businesses.
He said electric power could be out for weeks. "The biggest hazard that we're anxious about is storm surge", Long said. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast. Yesterday officials in Beaufort County, home to Hilton Head Island, held a news conference and urged people to leave voluntarily.
"A lot of our storefronts are boarded up", said Lynn Davis, town manager for Belhaven which sits at sea level in northeastern North Carolina. The Navy, Air Force and Army have been moving people, ships and aircrafts out of harm's way, though evacuations were not mandatory at bases such as Camp Lejeune.
In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city. Officials didn't reveal exactly which institutions would be evacuated due to security concerns, but said evacuated prisoners would get a free phone call to notify loved ones.