Gradual weakening is forecast during the next few days. The bottom line is everything we're tracking points towards a catastrophic event.
At least four people have died, including a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington.
The centre of Isaac passed between Martinique and Dominica with maximum sustained winds of about 45 miles per hour. Gusts of wind expected will be around 55-65 miles per hour (88-104 km/h).
Duke Energy North Carolina President David Fountain said Florence is so massive and its potential for damage so extensive that people could be without power for a very long time.
Flaherty said there is a small piece of good news, in that the "flow" in the southeastern quadrant of the storm has been reduced slightly.
Forecasters were monitoring five tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin, with the strongest, Category 4 Hurricane Florence, threatening the Carolinas. A turn toward the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected tonight followed by a turn toward the northeast over the weekend of Sept 15 and 16.
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Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland. Although this tropical storm will not be near Arkansas and Oklahoma, you may have family or friends that are in the unsafe path. "Some wind, no rain and rising sun".
Sustained winds on Tuesday afternoon approached 105 miles per hour, making it a very strong Category 2 storm, though it was expected to gradually weaken over cooler waters.
For example, one hurricane can be moving slowly westward in the Gulf of Mexico, while at exactly the same time another hurricane can be moving rapidly northward along the Atlantic coast. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion litres), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimetres).
Less rain is predicted for St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m.