The National Hurricane Center warned Sunday that all predictions about Florence are in their preliminary stages, as the storm's too far off to guess precisely where it will go.
Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 storm just after 12 p.m. Monday, as the rapidly strengthening storm moved westward through the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center. That means, she said, that the Wilmington region is going to be affected by what she said is going to be a major hurricane that could reach category 4 strength, which means maximum sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.
And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats. Large swells could be generated and cause damage in some parts of the state, which survived brushes with hurricanes Hector and Lane in recent weeks.
"This is still a very unsafe storm", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said at a Tuesday news conference. "Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore".
Forecasters say Florence will pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and start its approach to the USA on Thursday morning.
Despite facing heavy winds late last week, Hurricane Florence beat the odds.More news: Djokovic: Del Potro has a big game
Hurricane Isaac, much farther out to sea, has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, the hurricane center added.
"We are now reviewing and implementing the emergency plan and closely monitoring the storm's strength and path", she said in a statement.
Evacuations began Monday in coastal Carolina regions as landfall still looks likely near the state line between North Carolina and SC.
Cooper said he asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration so that resources will be ready when the storm arrives.
McMaster said folks should prepare for a lot of flooding in the Pee Dee area.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the US east coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds., with storm surge watches encompassing the same area.More news: Obama Campaigns for Seven California Democrats in Key House Districts
At a hardware store in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, store manager John Johnson said the rush on batteries, flashlights, plastic tarps and sandbags began Friday. A "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft recorded maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.
Moving west at 13 miles per hour, Florence is expected to near the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
The storm was getting bigger and better organised and is expected to continue to strengthen for the next day or so, the NHC said. She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated.
Here is a look at the earliest arrival time of tropical storm force winds.
Major flooding is predicted for a vast swath of land from Roanoke, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina. Even inland areas have the potential for Category 1 or 2 storms.More news: Serena Williams fined $17K for rules violations at US Open