Florence, now a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (209 km/h), was previously expected to travel north, up the North Carolina coast, after making landfall, according to the statement. It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.
Federal officials begged residents to put together emergency kits and have a plan on where to go.More news: The subtle gesture Meghan uses whenever she's with Prince Harry
"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.
"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said. "It's time for our citizens to be a part of the team". He said the government is prepared for the storm. Prisoners were kept at Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina despite a mandatory citywide evacuation, and many faced grueling conditions as the prison flooded with filthy water while food and water proved scarce or nonexistent. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said. It could be one of the most intense hurricanes to strike the Southeast in at least two decades.
Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area.More news: Hurricane Florence Zeroes In On Carolinas, Bringing 130 MPH Winds
"Get out of its way, don't play games with it, it's a big one, maybe as big as they've seen", Trump said.
"There's really not a lot of good news", NOAA flight director Paul Flaherty said on "Shepard Smith Reporting".
About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states, but some who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.More news: Henry Cavill Out as Superman in Future DC Movies