Other forecasters have predicted that Florence could also stall over Virginia, the Carolinas, and several mid-Atlantic states for possibly several days, which would bring catastrophic flooding to the area.
The Category 4 storm's approach led to a series of schedule adjustments Tuesday for teams in the Carolinas and Virginia. "So the call to return the favor to SC now is a very important one for us to answer", Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is warning residents to get out while roads are still open and uncrowded. "We are now also prepared at that point to assist our neighbors to the north in any fashion that they should ask". She grew up on the island chain, and says this will be only the second time she has evacuated.
A hurricane watch is now in effect from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the southern border of Virginia.
All county offices are closed through Wednesday.
Currituck school officials announced Monday that starting today, schools will be closed for students for the rest of the week.
"I've been doing this since 1983", Roberts said as he completed an order for another load of supplies. "We know we can't play around with this", said Jennifer Oosterwyk, who owns the Sugar Britches boutique on Holden Beach and lives in nearby Wilmington.
At a hardware store in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, store manager John Johnson said the rush on batteries, flashlights, plastic tarps and sandbags began Friday. It remains an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday night.
"Any information that needs to be put out that is particular to the Bluffton community can be found on our Facebook page as well as our website and I encourage you to go to those sites for the latest information and contact us if you have any questions at all".
Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils opted for the Thursday departure because it's "our best opportunity to get out".
"It's not just the coast", Mr Graham said.
Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph). The Category 4 storm is expected to intensify to near Category 5 status as it slows over very warm coastal waters.
North Carolina and North Carolina State canceled high-profile home games against ranked non-conference opponents and Virginia moved a home game to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday due to the approach of Hurricane Florence.
By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 20 inches (51 centimeters) - or even 30 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.
"The coast could see 10-to-12 feet of storm surge plus tides, and cause quite a mess across a stretch of the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout and western Pamlico Sound", he said. It took Matheson and her husband almost the whole day Monday to drive the 100km off the barrier island. He said it will mean a longer time before power crews can fix lines and a delay before water and sewer services can be restored to homes.