The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC.
The storm's eye was about 145 miles southeast of Wilmington as of 11 a.m., the briefing said.
On Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than SC and North Carolina combined".
Long said the danger was not only along the coast.
The storm is also predicted to bring historic rainfall of up to 35 inches to the Wilmington region. "We're about to be in the thick of it".
"Do not focus on the wind speed category of #Hurricane #Florence!" the National Hurricane Center tweeted.
With recent official reports finding that last year's Hurricane Maria claimed almost 3,000 lives in Puerto Rico-an assertion that re-emerged onto the national spotlight Thursday after President Donald Trump, without providing evidence, alleged that those estimates were artificially inflated and politically motivated-it's worth exploring what it is that ultimately kills people, including the most vulnerable, when a hurricane strikes.
And an unusual combination of other weather systems that are likely to stall Florence when it hits the Carolinas, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain.
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Florence Moves Toward the Carolinas
The National Hurricane Center says that a life-threatening storm surge could hit Southeast Virginia as early as Tuesday morning. Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.
"It doesn't matter where you are", he said. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave".
Will storm Helene influence our weather next week?
Feinstein notes that with the hurricane's change of direction to a more southerly track Wednesday, it appears Florence no longer poses a threat to Charlotte, one of American's busiest hubs, minimizing the impact on the airline's operations there.
Some areas are expected to see between 20 and 30 inches of rain through early next week in the area shaded in purple in the second image above.
There are several hazards to land as a result of tropical storm Isaac with rainfall expected to reach a total of six inches across Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe, especially over elevated terrain. Sustained winds remained at 90 miles per hour, but the storm - which was never expected to threaten the US coast - should begin to weaken over the next day and become a tropical storm on Thursday, forecasters said in an 11 a.m. advisory.
The main area of life-threatening swells and rip current conditions generated by Isaac are now affecting portions of the Lesser Antilles. "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".
Numerous communities throughout the region have issued either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".
Soren Rundquist, Environmental Working Group's director of spatial analysis, said if the rainfall projections hold up, the flood waters will simply take what was sprayed on the fields with them, along with what spills out of the pits.