A Hurricane Warning from Duck, North Carolina south into SC, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections' Palmer Pre Release Center a Level 1 Minimum Custody Prison in Florence, South Carolina, was evacuated in advance of Hurricane Florence due to security reasons.
In the 11 p.m. ET advisory, Florence was 280 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 17 mph.
As of Tuesday (Wednesday NZT), about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.
"Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting out to be a devastating event to the Carolinas, and potentially Virginia as well".
We'll keep you updated on this system in the coming days.
Florence is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday (Sept. 13 or 14), likely as a Category 3 hurricane, meaning it will have winds blowing at a minimum of 111 miles per hour (178 km/h), Samson said.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
Dolphins swimming in flood water caused by Hurricane Florence
Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to". Two other people died in North Carolina's Carteret County, according to the county's emergency management services office.
Axios: "The ties between Hurricane Florence and climate change" - "Hurricane Florence is a unique Atlantic hurricane, projected to stall out after hitting land and forecast to dump upwards of 2 feet of rain on several states, much like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas past year".
North Carolina governor Roy Cooper told locals not to "bet your life on riding out a monster", with ferocious winds set to batter the shoreline. "Now it might be time for the exam", Baxley said late in the morning.
Florence is now heading for ocean water that has surface temperatures of about 85 degrees, meaning it will most likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.
Emergency preparations in the area included activating 2,800 National Guard troops in North Carolina, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so that major roads led away from shore and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the three-state region. We're still watching the forecast track fairly closely. There are 5.25 million people under hurricane warnings and watches and another 4.89 million under tropical storm watches and warnings.
The impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.
"This is not going to be a tropical storm ... this is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for FEMA's Office of Response and Recovery, said on Wednesday.
"Bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size", Trump said Wednesday morning. You never know. But we know.