The storm was heading for the coast of North and SC but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south. UNC-Wilmington canceled all classes and ordered a voluntary evacuation at noon on Monday.Eastern Carolina University canceled classes starting at noon on Tuesday for the remainder of the week.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in declaring states of emergency.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", he said. "We're liable to have a whole lot of flooding".
Florence is expected to be as strong as a Category 4 hurricane by the time it makes its closest approach to the United States from Wednesday to Thursday. Hurricane-to-tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland, depending on the storm's track.
"We're talking 12-foot seas stretching 300 miles away from the center", the NHC's Graham said. SC is one-waying several interstates including I-26 out of Charleston. "We are going to put everything else away and then we are going to put some concrete blocks in front of the doors just so rushing water and wind can't blow the doors back in", said Matthew Littleton with Casper's Marina.
"This is good exercise", she quipped.
Also out for sandbags was Deborah LaRoche. We're just a strip of land - we're a barrier island. Brace said that after S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster ordered an evacuation the property owner asked for the house to be boarded up.More news: Hurricane Helene heading towards the United Kingdom , bringing chances of gale force winds
Not only has the storm exploded in intensity, but its zone of hurricane-force winds approximately doubled in size Monday.
Preparations intensified up and down the densely populated coast. "This one is different".
Overnight, Florence went through an "eyewall replacement cycle", senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said in an update from the hurricane center on Tuesday.
On its current track, Florence is expected to slam the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest.
The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.
The vessels will get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek to avoid potential damage from winds and tidal surges, said Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman. "All of those rivers in our area could potentially see significant flooding".More news: Trump Says We're Prepared for Hurricane Florence. Are We?
"Team South Carolina is moving into position.to facilitate the evacuation, but are also positioning to do post-storm activities", said Maj.
"Never have we seen quite this type of a storm approach us".
Right now, the part of the Atlantic under Florence is slightly warmer than usual, and the area north of the storm is significantly above normal, he says.
People shop at the Harris Teeter, filling up on water and supplies as Hurricane Florence becomes a threat to the coast Monday in Charleston, S.C.
At 11 p.m. EDT, the storm's center was located about 465 miles (750 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda and about 1,085 miles (1745 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
Isaac, meanwhile, is a Category 1 hurricane with 75 miles per hour winds and is moving west at 14 miles per hour.
Florence is packing maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, with higher gusts - and it's getting both larger and better-organized, the hurricane center said.More news: Russian Chemical Weapon Poisoning Suspects Claim They Were in Salisbury Sightseeing