"When people face the decision to leave their homes or stay and fight the storm, having the option to safely store their belongings can make that decision easier", Mack said. Eastern, Hurricane Florence was approximately 410 miles south of Bermuda and 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia. "We know the storm surge is going to be significant".
It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or higher.
The NHC said Florence is expected to be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, bringing life-threatening storm surge to coastal areas.
"Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm to target the Carolinas and this part of our country in decades", Byard said.
North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week. Parts of North Carolina could get 40 inches (1 metre) of rain.
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Hurricane Florence is on track to blast the southeastern US coast with ferocious winds and rain, but it may also swamp hog manure pits and coal ash dumps, spreading their toxins; as well as inundate nuclear reactors in the region, according to news reports. Some reactors are undergoing prestorm checks now, and their reactors will be shut down 12 hours before the hurricane arrives, Green said.
US President Donald Trump said the "storm looks very bad" and urged people to take precautions.
The WPS forecast Maue shaped his tweet around Wednesday actually showed a smaller area of extreme rainfall than a forecast graphic he had previously shared, but the newer forecast called for more of North Carolina to see at least 5 inches of rain over the week ahead. "It's big, and it's vicious", he said. Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC. Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes.
The message came two days after Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of coastal counties because of Hurricane Florence.
"The first thing is to protect your life", he said Tuesday morning.