People called the storm "a monster", "beautiful and terrifying", "a beast" and "a sight to behold".
Wherever Florence hits, it will nearly certainly disrupt flights - not only at airports along the coast but also inland after the storm moves ashore.
"We know the evacuation order I'm issuing will be inconvenient", McMaster said. Additionally, Florence, about 1,000 miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., is predicted to bring "life-threatening impacts" to North Carolina and neighboring states late this week.
As of noon Tuesday, lanes will reverse on Interstate 26 from Charleston to Columbia and USA 501 from Myrtle Beach.
As of Monday afternoon, however, no roadblocks or lane reversals have been scheduled for Tuesday in Beaufort County, including the Hilton Head Island bridges, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
The state Transportation Department likely will begin diverting eastbound traffic off I-26 in Columbia to US 321 or I-77 north at 8 a.m. Tuesday, it said. Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
Beaufort County public schools will be closed Tuesday through the rest of the week, a school district news release said. "We've done a lot of that over the years and we have K9s that can conduct search and rescue".
Likewise, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam implemented mandatory evacuations for parts of the coastline beginning 8 a.m. Tuesday. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane - Hazel, with 130mph winds, in 1954.
Still mostly centered in the landing area were Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, where the SC governor told everyone to leave starting at noon on Tuesday.
By Monday morning, the hurricane center classified Florence as a "major" hurricane, Category 3, meaning it was packing sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
Where Did Christine Blasey Ford Go to High School?
Feinstein acknowledged her knowledge of the accusation last week but kept Ford's identity private until the Sunday Post article. Her campaign did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday. "Never even had a little blemish on his record".
Florence has been gaining strength from the Atlantic's warm waters over the past 24 hours.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged people to make preparations and heed evacuation orders, warning that electrical service could be lost for several days, and days of heavy rain could lead to severe flooding in many areas.
Meanwhile Hurricane Helene will remain out in open water but slowly weaken and drift northwards towards the Azores.
Risky surf and rip currents are already occurring along the East Coast and will continue through the weekend. Storm surge flooding also could push 2 miles (3 kilometers) or more inland if Florence lingers for days along the coast. "This could result in significant river flooding across portions of the state into next week".
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed declarations of emergency for both North Carolina and SC, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response.
National Guard soldiers are being mobilized in the affected states.
Cooper has already requested from President Donald Trump a federal disaster declaration to ensure North Carolina receives financial aid as soon as possible.
They said friends offered some advice: fill up the gas tank, get cash and stock up on non-perishable foods. "That includes search and rescue, evacuation, wellness checks, security and route clearance". He said USA 278 and US 21 would be "ready for reversal" at noon Tuesday, but a final decision on whether to reverse flow on the two highways would come later from local authorities.
Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.
"Where should residents of "Zone A" evacuate to?"