Myrtle Beach's Ocean Boulevard was practically empty at midday on Wednesday, September 12, as the SC town prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.
"Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting out to be a devastating event to the Carolinas, and potentially Virginia as well".
The National Weather Service initially predicted that South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia would be the states directly in the storm's path.
Its maximum sustained winds slackened slightly to 125 mph, qualifying it as a Category 3 storm, but its wind field has grown, with hurricane-force winds extending out 70 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds stretching as far as 175 miles from the storm's center.
WCNC-TV meteorologist Brad Panovich told WFAE Morning Edition host Marshall Terry that the shift of Florence means more rain for the Charlotte area.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination. "I can at least do my little bit of part and that is keep an eye out for this little island that we have", Hoffman said. "Disaster is at the doorstep and it's coming in". All seven of North Carolina's ferry routes were shut down. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses could be flooded in North Carolina alone, Governor Cooper warned.
"If you are under an evacuation order and you haven't left, the time to leave is now".
Even with some weakening that's predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said. The power is going to be off for weeks.
Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.
And when the storm hits, Sample said, they won't put authorities' lives in danger by asking for help.
Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is encouraging residents to heed the warnings of state and local officials, and said the lines of communication remain open.
It has Hanover County Commissioner Woody White very anxious. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together".