Governor Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for the state of Georgia ahead Florence making landfall. The center of the storm will likely land between Brownsville and Rockport. The center said the waves were measured by satellite.
Calling on residents to follow evacuation orders declared by state and local officials, Byard said the hit by hurricane would not be a "glancing blow", but rather "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
In addition to strong winds, Florence brings the threat of a devastating storm surge - as high as 9 to 13 feet in the area from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.
The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring risky rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.
Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.
Manure lagoons are about as pleasant as they sound-vast open-air ponds of manure located next to the many hog farms near the North Carolina coast.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH tourists Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.More news: Hurricane Florence: Latest NOAA Updates from NHC (Sept. 13)
The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.
"This storm is a monster", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.
Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be rescued from floods.
According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, people caught in a Category 4 storm can expect to see "catastrophic damage".
"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service spokesperson in Wilmington, North Carolina said Tuesday night, according to ABC News.
For Florida, with the expected inland track of Florence, smaller but still fun to good size surf is in the water on Friday.
"A motion toward the northwest is forecast to begin by this afternoon and continue through Thursday", the hurricane center says.More news: Hurricane Florence has weakened but will still be devastating
On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward.
"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach police chief Dan House said.
To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".
Between the two cities, about two hours apart, the traffic flowed smoothly in places and became gridlocked in others because of fender-benders.
An additional 25 percent of deaths are related to rain, he said.
Speaking about the Wilmington area and its surrounding beaches in North Carolina, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official said the inland flooding threat was "extreme". "You're not being asked to leave but we would encourage you to do what you think is best".More news: Nintendo to sell NES-style Switch wireless controllers to online service subscribers