Hurricane Florence, heading for the Carolinas, "will likely be the storm of a lifetime" for areas of the coast, according to the National Weather Service early Wednesday.
TRACKING FLORENCE: Stay with The Weather Network online and on T.V. for our exclusive coverage of the storm.
The "Hurricane Hunter" is specially equipped and operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fly through storms to collect data, playing a major role in hurricane forecasting.
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm because of both destructive winds and a storm surge that could place normally dry land under at least 10 feet of water.
"The Governor has declared a State of Emergency due to the impending approach of Hurricane Florence". That would leave people like Whittington essentially cut off.
Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.
"It's kind of scary, but now that it's dropped to a Category 3, it's really not bothering me that much", she said.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge.
A hurricane hunter with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flew into the category three Hurricane Florence and reported back Wednesday what he was seeing. More to come on this part of the forecast. "We just need to figure out how to make it through". Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC.
"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.
Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. Officials are warning that the hurricane could become a multiday event as it slows down before making landfall.