Forecasters said conditions are still good for Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, to strengthen a little as it moves over very warm waters. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", he said.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.
The time to prepare is nearly over, he said. This storm is heading toward North and SC late Thursday into Friday.
Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for week.
Federal Emergency Management Agency associate administrator Jeff Byard said: "This is not going to be a glancing blow". In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby". It had been projected to shift north after making landfall.
Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.
A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.
The Newnan Times-Herald will continue to monitor the Hurricane Florence and share the latest information online at www.times-herald.com, on our Facebook page and in our daily print editions.
Manure lagoons are about as pleasant as they sound-vast open-air ponds of manure located next to the many hog farms near the North Carolina coast.
The latest data suggests at least 20 to 30 inches will fall on southeastern North Carolina including the Wilmington, Jacksonville and Crystal Coast from Thursday through the weekend with isolated totals of up to 40 inches possible.
"It's about rain, rain, rain", he said.
Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.
Panovich said the lingering rain will bring back memories of May's flooding in the foothills and mountains, where most of the western half of North Carolina was under a flood watch or warning for almost a week. We know how to manage expectations. But that part of the East Coast rarely sees major hurricanes.
Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.