"Just because we have a landfall to your south, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system", NHC Director Ken Graham said, pointing out the wide risk of flooding. "Please don't focus on wind or any other threat right now but flooding in our area, especially Charlotte".
Across the Piedmont, Charlotte could see around five to 10 inches of rain.
"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is wonderful and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighbourhood. "It's not in a big hurry".
A crew of about 80 rescuers from Montgomery County is headed to SC to help deal with Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. It will also slam on the brakes and stall near the coast of the Carolinas. "Saturday morning, pouring rain at the coast, big-time flooding, and it might not even be raining in Charlotte yet". This storm is likely to impact our weather by late Sunday into Monday. Floyd produced 24 inches of rain in some parts of the state, while Florence has already dumped about 30 inches in areas around Swansboro.
Storm surge is basically a wall of seawater that could fall on and swallow parts of the coast.
An additional 25 percent of deaths are related to rain, he said.
And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties. In Charlotte, don't expect Harvey-type flooding. It could be one of the most intense hurricanes to strike the Southeast in at least two decades.
More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the arrival of Florence, which boasts sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.
The governor said power plants are taking all necessary steps to help people get power back after the storm. "It won't have an impact until the weekend".
The storm could shatter Wilmington rainfall records as areas near the coast could see as much as 3 feet of rain while inland regions could get 7 to 20 inches, the weather service said. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence.
"This is not going to be Hugo, it's not going to be Fran".
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand. "The trees that would come down would be because the ground got so wet". Those winds will increase over the next few days, with 50-mph gusts possible on Saturday.