Hurricane Florence deserves all the names it's being called as it threatens to cause historic flooding, blow catastrophic winds and idle for days over the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic.
"Florence was anticipated to make a steady, assured progress directly towards the Carolinas, make landfall, and move directly inland".
Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm. Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Trinidadians living overseas are vigorously preparing themselves for the hurricane.
The Miami-based center says the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions.
"This area is not among the evacuation zones". Forecasters say 40 inches (one meter) of rain are possible along the coast of North Carolina.
Graham said areas that repeatedly get hit even with weaker winds at Florence's edges could see heavy rainfall for hours.
Family members, like other residents, expect to be bombarded with torrential rain possibly for days.
"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change. We are not directly affected. The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says.
Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 50 miles per hour (80 kph).
Florence's hurricane-force winds were blowing 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 195 miles (315 kilometers) from the eye.
Storm surge is deadly.
The centre issued a public advisory with a summary of watches and warnings in effect for several areas.
As the storm continues to track toward western North Carolina and upstate SC, heavy rains in the mountains could trigger mudslides due to the region's topography, Cline added. The storm was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.
There also could be significant beach erosion in some area, the weather service said. This is a life-threatening situation.
The centre urges people within the affected areas to take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions.
He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 130 km (80 miles) from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 322 km (200 miles) out.