A monster. A once-in-a-lifetime storm.
"A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along portions of the coastlines of SC and North Carolina", the National Hurricane Center explains.
Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached Wilmington, with weather officials saying the storm will bring unprecedented rain to the region.
"Where 9 to 12 feet of storm surge are forecast and the beaches from the Outer Banks to the Wilmington area, 6 to 9 feet of storm surge are forecast over several astronomical high tide cycles", Goldstein said. Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states.
Meanwhile, some of North Carolina's 2,100 industrial-size hog farmers are scrambling to drain waste pools containing manure before the hurricane hits, according to NPR.
An onlooker checks out the heavy surf at the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
Sarah Risty-Davis, who was born and raised in New Bern, told NPR's Morning Edition that she saw high flood waters until the early morning but that the water has mostly receded in her neighborhood.
Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. The losses won't be easily or quickly overcome.
"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina", Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning.
TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern and southeastern North Carolina through Friday. Heavy rains are expected to move in late Saturday night through Monday.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...
SC governor Henry McMaster confirmed 300,000 people had evacuated on Wednesday and hundreds of thousands more from the three states have evacuated since then. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma a year ago.
"Florence core winds dropping but the storms strong wind is spreading out, Eye trying to reform, A big unsafe widespread storm".
"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way", said Dan House.
With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. Cooper said 30,000 people statewide were without power as of 5 p.m. Thursday, "and that number is rising". Hurricane Helene is veering toward Europe. Evacuees also loaded up their vehicles with extra gas cans, their pets - mostly dogs, and one cockatoo - coolers filled with sandwich meat, family photographs and blankets. "The plywood on the house, water for at least a week".
Horton pleaded for volunteers to take in their animals for the duration of the storm, a common, plaintive refrain at other shelters across the area. By late Wednesday, the authorities in North Carolina reported almost 7,000 evacuees staying in 71 emergency shelters throughout the state. Virginia has moved its Saturday home game against OH to Nashville, Tennessee.