Florence has it all: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes.
Fears about Hurricane Florence spread south on Wednesday, with Georgia declaring a state of emergency after officials in the Carolinas urged people to evacuate the coast ahead of the storm's expected pounding winds and rain-driven floods.
Hurricane Florence is threatening millions of Americans in the southeast, as FEMA warns that this is a very unsafe storm. The storm is expected to slowly move inland, battering much of the U.S. coast for days.
While Florence is no longer considered a major hurricane, its reach has expanded, threatening residents from Georgia to Virginia.
The storm surge risk will be highest between Southport, NC, and Surf City, NC.
According to the National Weather Service, even though Florence is moving swiftly to the northwest, it is believed that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday.
Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).
Hurricane Florence is seen from the International Space Station as it churns in the Atlantic Ocean towards the east coast of the United States, September 10, 2018.
North Carolina residents rushed to stack up on food, water, toilet paper and other necessities as "monster" Hurricane Florence is set to touchdown in the state early this weekend.
Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.
"Finally I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence".
Though Florence has weakened slightly, it's still a very risky storm, and a life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected.
The storm is moving steadily toward the Carolinas' coastal areas. "You can't stop Mother Nature".
Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time. The flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC might be "unprecedented", according to the agency.
In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate. The first tropical-storm-strength winds are now expected to hit on Thursday at 2 p.m. and last throughout the weekend.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.