An updated track at 5 a.m. Wednesday update shows the storm changing course and moving more into SC after the hurricane would make landfall.
Recent forecasts show the likely path of the hurricane and surrounding storm to head southwards after smacking into North Carolina and SC.
The first severe winds from Hurricane Florence are still expected to hit the Wilmington area around Thursday at 2 p.m., with the eye striking the Wilmington area on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m., according to most recent update from the National Weather Service (NWS); you can read the most recent NWS update here. Elsewhere, in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states, Florence is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain.
Generally, the red region is where I believe tropical storm-force winds (or gusts) and/or flooding will occur.
Florence was located about 325 miles (520 km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km per hour), the Miami, Florida-based weather forecaster said.
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.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow", said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.
ISS images show massive Hurricane Florence from 400 km up
The massive storm is larger than North Carolina and South Carolina - combined, according to South Carolina Emergency Management. The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13.
Businesses across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia will likely suffer financial losses from the approaching storm, with ports closing, farmers moving their livestock and expected power outages that could last for weeks.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who cancelled a trip to India to return to the island to be part of the team preparing for the passage of tropical storm Isaac that was once a hurricane, also announced that schools and the public sector workers would remain home on Thursday.
The hurricane center's projected track previously had Florence charging into the North Carolina coast on Friday.
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.
Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.
In North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach, Inside Edition's Steven Fabian was told to leave his hotel, which is shutting down due to the storm.
"There's really not a lot of good news", NOAA flight director Paul Flaherty said on "Shepard Smith Reporting".
"When Jim Cantore is in town, that means you got to get out of town", Fabian said. "Also, a little creepy".