Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.
The Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland all declared a state of emergency ahead of the deadly storm with millions of people evacuating North and SC.
Long said the danger was not only along the coast.
"The larger and slower the storm is, the greater the threat and impact, and we have that here", NHC Director Ken Graham said Thursday.
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.
About 300,000 people have been evacuated from South Carolina, McMaster said.
As Hurricane Florence makes landfall today, talk is of what category the storm will end up being when it hits. "Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected".
The message this morning is the same as it was yesterday when the hurricane was a Cat 4 with winds of 140 miles per hour.
-Get out: 1.7 million people under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, and more than 10 million people live in places now under storm watches or warnings. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. Millions were expected to lose power, perhaps for weeks.
Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm.
"It's going to bring a significant storm surge inland and a significant amount of rain". Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states.
Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation?
The wide storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and forecasters expect top winds to drop more as it nears the shore, but they're sharing a giant dose of uncertainty.
Florence is headed straight for some of the most well-known military bases in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have already evacuated. The commanding general says anyone remaining on base will have food, water and protection despite being in the projected path of the storm. Georgia, Virginia and Maryland are estimated to also be affected. The losses won't be easily or quickly overcome.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination. There are now fewer tourists to send away.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
As Hurricane Florence spins counterclockwise, its strong wind causes water to pile up along the coastline. It could also make several points of landfall.
Elder relatives carry as much weight as meteorologists in a tight-knit community of slave descendants on the SC coast. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Europe and newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land. He says: "If Mama and Grandma are going, then a lot of people are leaving". At least two dozen utility trucks gathered near Charlotte Motor Speedway to prepare to move in and start restoring power as soon as conditions are safe. She packed up what she could and took a ferry.
Vicki Moulson, who teaches at a local community college in the Outer Banks, said she was planning to ride out the hurricane because she wants to be near her home and her friends.
At the nearby Arthur Christian Church, Booker reports, about twenty people were praying together as the storm barreled toward the Carolinas. The utility room of John Hembree and Scot Perkins' Chesapeake home has become a refuge for their neighbor's birds as well as their own chickens, three dogs, turtle and cat. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.