Hurricane Florence is now barreling toward the East Coast and is forecast to bring, "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall... across portions of the Carolinas", according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center. Myrtle Beach is within an area under a hurricane warning that ran from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, at 2pm local time.
As of 11 p.m., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's projections for Hurricane Florence show 40-50 miles per hour winds affecting Chatham County.
Tropical storm conditions are expected for areas of the Carolinas on Thursday with hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater) projected for "late Thursday or Friday".
Elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states...3 to 6 inches, isolated 12 inches.
Skerrit said that while the latest weather bulletin has indicated that Isaac is now a tropical storm, he was reminding citizens that in 2015, tropical storm Erika killed at least 20 people, caused floods and mudslides that have set the country back 20 years.
Update: As of 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence has dipped to a Category 2 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.
That reduced Florence from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 1, but forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day after day - will bring ocean water surging onto land and torrential rain.
Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in the state ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which dipped down in trajectory earlier this week.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.
"I tried to stock up on water because I was going to stay initially, but then as the hurricane got closer and it was going to come close to where Lumberton was, I then made the decision to come home", Benson said. In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.
Those risks include high winds, prolonged heavy rainfall and storm surge, he said, but the amount of each is constantly changing.
Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.
"I feel just as safe at home as I would at a shelter", Batts said.