Since the hurricane has already amassed wind speeds of 130 miles per hour, the coast could see life-threatening wind, rain, and storm surges.
Based on the current forecast, Florence could cause storm surges of 3 to 6 feet above ground level in areas along the coast and near the Albemarle Sound, the center said.
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.
The president also said the states affected could get "more water than we have ever seen in a storm or a hurricane".
Rain could reach as much as 10 inches elsewhere in North Carolina, Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C.
"All the rainfall we're going to have, plus you talk about the wind - that means a lot of trees coming down, it's a lot of power outages, a lot of impacts with this system", NHC Director Ken Graham said Tuesday.
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President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC, facilitating federal help, and cancelled campaign events Thursday and Friday, citing the storm. "Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"
As he issued a mandatory evacuation order for the coastal region Monday afternoon, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster didn't mince words.
"It's getting very close to Category 5 sustained winds over the next 36 hours ..."
Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 300 miles (485 kilometres) ahead of its eye, and so wet that a swath from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged. In the six decades since then, many thousands of people have moved to the coast. The storm is predicted to cause massive damage with life-threatening storm surge and flooding.
Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, and canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.
The exact track, overall size and forward speed of the storm will determine which locations along the coast receive the worst of Florence's damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surge flooding.
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"Inland flooding will be a major threat and something people far from the landfall location should be concerned about", Miller said.
Besides the power of this storm, the other major concern is its speed.
GOHSEP said the teams will being arriving in the Carolinas Tuesday.
He says the peanut crop could use some rain after a very dry August, but certainly doesn't need the amount of moisture Florence is expected to deliver.
As of Tuesday morning, hurricane force winds were extending up to 40 miles from the storm's center and "tropical storm force winds" were showing up as far away as 150 miles, said the National Weather Service. UCF had to cancel its home game against Georgia Tech previous year because of Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Helene is heading north to open sea and now poses no danger to land after the storm hit cooler waters in the Atlantic. But the storm is expected to strengthen again over the next day or so.
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Kathleen O'Neal, a resident of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina's Barrier Islands, said she, her husband and son would ride out the storm. Heed the directions of your State and Local Officials - and know that WE are here for you. The school said the decision came after discussions with West Virginia, the Atlantic Coast Conference and emergency management officials.