With winds of 125 mph and a span of hundreds of miles, Hurricane Florence is already one of the largest and strongest hurricanes ever to threaten the East Coast.
Forecasters with The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang are now saying Florence is a Category 4 storm that could bring very unsafe winds, flash flooding and power outages.
Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally risky to be outside, Graham said.
Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area.
"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.
The last Category 4 hurricane to plow directly into North Carolina was Hazel in 1954, a devastating storm that killed 19 people.
Florence is now churning through the Atlantic, only a few hundred miles off the coast of Wilmington, N.C. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well. In South Carolina, Beaufort County Emergency Management Division Commander Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case.
In Charleston, South Carolina, some residents were making preparations to leave Tuesday while others planned to ride out the storm. "Everyone was sold out", she said. Winds from the east have been causing coastal flooding this week along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, with high tides as much as 2 feet above normal in Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary's counties.
SC authorities have turned four motorways into one-way routes away from the coast to speed the exodus.
When the National Hurricane Updates shared a map of the category four hurricane, dubbed "the storm of a lifetime", on Facebook, people were quick to compare the pink round-headed shape displaying the devastation to something a lot less serious.