Other counties along North Carolina's coast are also issuing evacuation warnings, while SC has ordered the evacuation of all coastal areas beginning at noon on Tuesday. Damaging winds could also spread well inland in those states and into Virginia, the hurricane center said. Exactly where it will strike is still not clear but the further north that happens the more likely we are to get high wind, storm surge, and a lot of rain.
It said that maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts and that additional strengthening is expected over the next day or two.
Tall corn and tobacco crops are most vulnerable to wind damage and hard to harvest if knocked down, said Rhonda Garrison, executive director of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina.
A million people have been ordered to leave the US coast and millions more prepared for Florence's predicted arrival on late Thursday or early Friday.
None of the 17 storms in 2017 made landfall in Canada. A hurricane warning was posted for most of the Carolina coast north to the Virginia border.
"We want residents to prepare accordingly".
"There's just certain times of year when you just don't want to put waste on fields", said Mike Yoder, an associate director and coordinator for emergency-response programs at North Carolina State University Extension. "People are doing a pretty good job now". "North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too". That would mean more flooding rains across a large part of the U.S. South, expanding the damage, according to Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.
Officials said tickets purchased through the respective schools will be refunded automatically and as quickly as possible.
"Every indication we have is that this is a life threatening storm and it shouldn't be taken lightly".
"Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people", FEMA Administrator Brock Long said. It will possibly weaken somewhat as it nears land - but that will hardly change the flooding threat.
Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days.
Even before it officially arrives, Florence will push tall waves far ahead of it.
View Slideshow Hurricane Florence is expected to be a Category 4 storm when it arrives at the coast of North Carolina late this week
"Cotton is probably the most vulnerable crop from this storm", McIntosh says.
Leuttic warned that high winds are risky, but it's really the heavy rainfall that poses an even higher risk. "With time, the wind pushes the water into every nook and cranny you can think of", Graham said.
A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and OH, and even up to the New York City area - although there's only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north.
It includes transporting supplies, equipment, fuel, or people to and from the areas hit by the storm.
On Tuesday afternoon, data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft showed that Florence's sustained winds had picked up in speed again, hovering close to 140 miles per hour.
In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again, on a path to hit the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday.
"Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane?"
During a press conference update on the state's ongoing preparations for Hurricane Florence, Governor Henry McMaster says he and state officials continue to make adjustments to their plans. "This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding".
UCF and North Carolina are looking at the feasibility of rescheduling for this season, but that remains highly unlikely.
The problem is, much of the Carolinas are already saturated from rainfall.
"That's good news and bad news", he said.
Wrightsville Beach 12 brace for Florence to fully make landfall
Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. Artist Sarah Loeffler Misch shared several videos of the rising waters in Avon, North Carolina - part of the Outer Banks.