This is a developing story. An additional 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. North Carolinians can compare those measurements with this flood risk map to gauge how their areas might be affected.
Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina. He said only about 300,000 of the 700,000 people who live in the mandatory evacuation zone have left.
The bulk of the three media briefings held by police chief Dan House surrounded how they were still anticipating the serious and catastrophic storm surge as well as hurricane force winds.
The town of Asheville, North Carolina, also has offered help.
Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.
The wind howled and sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before dawn in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.
The U.S. military evacuated Marine, Navy and Army bases in and around the storm's path, as thousands of Red Cross disaster aid workers and emergency linemen began arriving at the Carolina coast this week.
Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a dayslong deluge.
In its 0600 GMT advisory, the center said Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina and moving northwest at six miles per hour (10 kilometers per hour).
Forecasters' European climate model is predicting that 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherModels.com.
On Thursday evening, the Neuse River burst its banks which caused rapid flooding in New Bern, North Carolina, forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power. The eye of that hurricane merely grazed the coast.
Members of the Missouri Search and Rescue, part of FEMA, unload their gear at a staging area as Hurricane Florence starts to make landfall in Lealand, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2018.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.
Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.
Others were at home hoping for the best. "We just want people to be very careful". "We chose to hunker down".