Media captionWhy do people ignore hurricane warnings? The problem is, Flo is now expected to stall out over the Carolinas before slowly moving inland.
As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.
Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 105 miles per hour (165 kph) by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.
Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week.
Florence is projecting hurricane-force winds outward up to 80 miles from its center; tropical-storm-force winds are swirling outward up to 195 miles away.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday. Hurricane-force winds were blowing 130 km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 315km from the eye. Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds.
The Carolinas and Virginia are preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence later this week and one of the most life-threatening elements of the storm is the amount of rainfall predicted to hit the area, reports Vox.
FEMA has warned that while downgraded, the storm will still generate life threatening storm surge and rainfall in North and SC. That could cause normally dry areas to be flooded by up to 4 meters (13 feet) of water moving inland. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.
President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".
"Don't play games with it". It's a big one'.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Home Depot and Lowes activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.
Town Manager Mike Cramer said law enforcement officers will try to assess how many people are still on the island immediately south of Wilmington.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
Panovich: The other interesting thing is in Charlotte our biggest impacts might be felt more Friday night into Saturday, and we will certainly see some wind on Friday but I think the rain may be kind of scattered about on Friday and the heavy stuff doesn't really move in until Saturday.
Hurricane Florence pushes its way towards the Carolinas coast.
Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.
Mr Cooper's warnings were echoed by his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, who stated that emergency services may not be able to reach residents if they remain in areas where evacuation orders have been issued.
"We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful".