The "probable" forecast path for Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, showed the storm shifting further toward the southern North Carolina coast and the northern half of the SC coast, with the forecast cone stretching into Georgia, western North Carolina and Tennessee, according to the National Hurricane Center.
From the Ocracoke Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border and from the South Santee River to North Myrtle Beach, the NHC forecast that water could rise as high as 6 feet.
Florence is now expected to make a slightly earlier arrival near the border of North and SC early Friday.
Florence was downgraded Wednesday to a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.
We started the day in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we met Gov. Roy Cooper at the state's emergency operations center.
As of 8 a.m. EDT, the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Florence is a large hurricane and will affect much of North and SC.
The mammoth waves were spotted early Wednesday in the storm's northeast quadrant, said the NHC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, which has been documenting Florence's waves all week.
Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".More news: RIP iPhone: Apple discontinues its flagships
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More news: Scenes From The Carolina Coast As Hurricane Florence Surges Ashore
'North Carolina, my message is clear: Disaster is at the doorstep, and it's coming in'. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses could be flooded in North Carolina alone, Governor Cooper warned.
Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.
The Michigan-sized storm is set to linger for days and cause catastrophic flooding with up to four feet of rain and 13-foot storm surges.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers). He said all the calls for reservations were coming from either SC and North Carolina where the damage is supposed to be the worst.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".
He said Jacksonville could experience tropical storm conditions Saturday morning into Saturday evening if the storm turns south, but he said mainly people in Georgia between Brunswick and Savannah should be concerned about that.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together".