Hurricane warnings have been issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) for portions of SC and North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, according to the agency's 5 p.m. update on September 11.
Florence's winds in the afternoon were down slightly to 125 miles per hour (205 kph), from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3.
Hurricane-force winds will reach the Carolina coasts late Thursday or early Friday. The governors of North Carolina and Virginia have announced mandatory evacuations of hundreds of thousands more in their states. But the change was probably temporary and didn't do anything to lessen the danger, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses.
As of now, Florence is due to make landfall very early Friday morning, somewhere in the Carolinas.
The Category 3 storm has prompted more than a million people to flee the Carolinas and Virgina, as residents heed dire warnings from officials. The National Hurricane Center is predicting central OH could eventually see between 1 and 2 inches of rain from the massive system.
While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to courageous the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.
As of 2 p.m., the storm was centred 435 miles (700 kilometres) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph (26 kph).
Larger hurricanes typically bring much higher storm surges, historically the deadliest threat from hurricanes, because a larger span of winds can push more water ashore.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper had a direct message for residents who decide to stay put.
However some residents have made a decision to board up their homes and ride out the storm.
As residents of the region prepared by stocking up on essentials, officials called on them to evacuate to higher ground.
Trojniar said she and her husband were packing up belongings and plan to stack sandbags around their single-floor home in Wilmington's eerily named Landfall neighborhood near the ocean before checking into a hotel to ride out the storm, with plenty of wine. While it may or may not officially become a Category 5 storm, it will still be a major Hurricane at landfall.
Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.
Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20in of rain, if not more, with as much as 10in elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington DC.