The forecast is for landfall to occur overnight Thursday into Friday morning.
Forecasters and politicians pleaded with the public to take the warnings seriously and minced no words in describing the threat. It's big and it's vicious.
Life-threatening surf and rip currents will also affect Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast this week.
Those issues don't even begin to involve the flooding, which could leave lasting impacts on affected areas.
Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm nevertheless on the Outer Banks. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster". But getting out of harm's way could prove hard.
"This is going to produce heavy rainfall, and it may not move very fast".
Some petrol stations were running dry as customers filled up.
Florence is now around 800 miles from Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 16mph with winds of 130mph. So it may shift over the coming days, but if predictions hold, Florence is set to be the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since Hurricane Hugo tore through the state in 1989.
The National Hurricane Center issued a Storm Surge Watch for many of our coastal communities Tuesday morning.
The exact track, overall size and forward speed of the storm will determine which locations along the coast receive the worst of Florence's damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surge flooding.More news: EA faces prosecution in Belgium over Federation Internationale de Football Association 19 'loot boxes'
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Rain measured in feet is "looking likely", he said.
"Mainly in the south-facing beaches, coastal Rhode Island and the Cape and Islands for the south coast", he said. "We depend on people being prepared and we don't have a real culture of preparedness in this country that we've got to work on".
Paula Matheson of Springfield, Oregon, has been getting the full Southern experience during her 10-week RV vacation: hot weather, good food, lovely beaches and, now, a hurricane evacuation.
National Hurricane Center's latest report shows Hurricane Florence has intensified into category 4 hurricane on Monday. "Eighty-five degrees", Matheson said, pausing a moment.
"They're going to pre-position us and get us in the area of where the storm is going to hit, and then they'll move us to wherever we're needed", he added.
Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds in 1954.
"Florence continues on a track to impact the U.S. mainland by Thursday or Friday".
McMaster rescinded the order Tuesday for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties - less than 24 hours after he placed an evacuation order on the state's entire coastline.
Cotton Puryear, of the Virginia National Guard explains that if you face an emergency during the storm, you should not contact the National Guard.