It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.
Pablo Santos, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told VOA that when the center of Florence comes ashore and shifts north as expected, it will still be "catastrophic" due tin a large extent to the storm surge.
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.
The forecast calls for as much as 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the center of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely unsafe. It is still considered risky with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.
In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line. The problem is, Flo is now expected to stall out over the Carolinas before slowly moving inland.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Trouble began brewing last week, when three hurricanes-Florence, Isaac, and Helene-starting churning up the North Atlantic.
"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.
"You put your life at risk by staying", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.
The storm would be expected to die out by Wednesday, Ms Smith said.
Forecasts generally project Florence to make landfall in southeastern North Carolina on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.
Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear-skies high-pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI. But because the storm was so large it produced a destructive storm surge in New York City, and caused an estimated $65 billion in damage in the United States.
"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Georgia, Maryland and D.C., have also declared a state of emergency at the state level.
"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1". Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Regardless of whether a system forms, they say heavy rain and gusty winds are likely along the Texas and Louisiana coast later this week.
Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. When fierce winds keep up for a long time, homes are "going to start to deteriorate".
The remnants of the storm could even end up bringing some drier conditions to the south west of the UK. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through the streets of Hatteras Village, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth. While all simulations show the storm turning back to the north Sunday or Monday (local time), exactly where that turns occurs is a big wild card.