The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina. Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas in 2012, came in at $65 billion, according to the National Hurricane Center.
People who thought they were relatively safe from the onslaught of Hurricane Florence began boarding up and Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as uncertainty over the path of the monster storm spread worry along the Southeastern coast. Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast". Florence is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall.
Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall late Thursday night or sometime Friday.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said that while Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday and into Friday, it will still be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it makes landfall.
He cited forecasts showing Florence was likely to stall over North Carolina, "bringing days and days of rain".
A view of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station.
As of 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles (700 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph (26 kph).
The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane's peak winds have decreased slightly to 125 mph but the size of the wind field has increased to outwards of 70 miles from the center.
For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said. Florence is now heading for ocean water with surface temperatures of around 85 degrees, meaning it will likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.
The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Thursday and Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore. Its maximum sustained winds are expected to top 145 miles per hour before losing some steam near the coast. The center said the waves were measured by satellite.
Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as 40 inches (1m) of rain, to Virginia. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas. She said it will become a "major flooding event".