"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the NHC said. "All you have to do is look up at your ceiling, and think about 12 feet (of water)".
"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding". The very center of that bullseye may be Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Corps training base, where authorities were opening emergency operation centers, staging equipment and urging families on the base to build survival kits with food and equipment needed to sustain themselves for 72 hours.
More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered. Typically, local governments in the state make the call on evacuations.
Florence's path has it slowing and spinning just off the coast of North Carolina. Since then, thousands of people have moved to the coast.
Ahead of Florence's arrival, barrier islands were already seeing risky rip currents and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.
Hurricane Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 485 kilometres ahead of its "eye", and so full of rain that a swath from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged.
There is increased fear that Florence "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday", the NHC said Tuesday.
‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h
"We will experience power outages, we will have infrastructure damage, there will be homes damaged, there will be debris on the roads - this will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country", announced Jeffrey Byard, Response and Recovery administrator for FEMA.
Florences projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in huge lagoons.
It's a continuation of the rapid strengthening seen yesterday, when the hurricane moved out of destabilizing air currents and into conditions ripe for a monster storm. Models are but one piece of putting together a forecast, but the guidance they're providing right now is really worrisome.
Hurricane Florence, on track to become the first Category 4 storm to make a direct hit on North Carolina in six decades, howled closer to shore on Wednesday, threatening to unleash pounding surf, days of torrential rain and severe flooding. It was moving between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before nearing the Carolinas on Thursday. Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.
In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd came ashore near Cape Fear as a Category 2 storm that dumped about 2 feet of water on a region already soaked days earlier by Hurricane Dennis.
Airlines have already begun issuing travel alerts and waiving change fees ahead of the storm. Mandatory evacuation orders were given to coastal portions of the states of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", Trump warned on Twitter. If it does grow, the bigger wind field will give it a wider reach to whip more water toward the coast.
UEFA Nations League Report: Spain v Croatia 11 September 2018
Belgium earned a comfortable win over Iceland thanks to a pair of goals by Romelu Lukaku and one from Eden Hazard. The UEFA Nation's League match between Spain and Croatia will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes.