First Lady Melania Trump issued a plea to the American people. Melania asks people in the path of Hurricane Florence to follow directives from local officials.
"If you or your loved ones are in the path of #HurricaneFlorence, be sure you are listening to local officials. Stay safe & evacuate dangerous areas. Follow @FEMA for updates. Helpful information at http://ready.gov."
As the first lady knows, people often tend to listen to the evacuation warnings because they believe that the storm won't be as bad as predicted. They also want to avoid the stress of leaving their home.
However, as the first lady notes, Hurricane Florence is already impacting the U.S. east coast, and it hasn't even hit yet. 624 flights have been grounded ahead of the hurricane, and local news is reporting crazy things like 83 feet tall waves.
The Category 4 storm, which has sustained winds of 130 mph, began slowing down Wednesday. It's expected to turn south after making landfall o the East Coast. Meteorologists warn that that could have a dire impact on North Carolina and South Carolina.
Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas overnight on Thursday. More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate the states' coastal regions.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, said the latest models show Florence reaching a "ridge" building over the eastern U.S. The office warned that Florence "will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast."
While slowdown sounds like a good thing, it actually means the storm will sit on the coast, dumping 20 to 30 inches of rain in some coastal areas. It also means the hurricane winds could linger for 24 hours or more.
"Heed the warnings," FEMA's Jeff Byard said. "Today's the day. It's time for citizens to be a part of the team... and evacuate."
The storm appears to be slated to hit further south than originally thought. The warnings will be reflected to adjust any further southward shifts.
"The NHC track has been adjusted southward ... and additional southward adjustment may be warranted in future advisories," the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.
In North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper ordered an unprecedented evacuation of the state's barrier islands. The storm surge alone will flood tens of thousands of structures, Cooper said Wednesday.
"Every County and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and to take this storm seriously," Cooper said.
Ryan Maue, a weather.us meteorologist, said Florence is forecast to dump some 10 trillion gallons of water on the Carolinas. He called the forecast "bizarre" and said that "the forecast after 72 hours is certainly a challenge ... and a nightmare."
President Donald Trump has FEMA standing by to help with the storm. He tweeted about the preparation.
"Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated," Trump tweeted. "It will be arriving soon. FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready. Be safe!"
In a video, President Trump asked people to take the storm seriously. He urged people not to "play games" with this hurricane.
"Get out of its way. Don't play games with it. It's a big one. Maybe as big as they've seen."
Please pray for everyone in the path of the storm. It's a terrifying prospect. If you or a loved on are in the area, please heed warnings from officials!