Scientists hypothesize that a warmer world will bring slower storms, so what we saw last year with Harvey - and now this year with Florence - could be a sign of those changes.
"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.
On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
And while the millions affected finalize their emergency plans, try to, um, shoot the weather into submission (please don't do this), and hopefully take the official advice to get the hell out of its path, even more have been watching Florence's trajectory and forecast via online tracker sites and apps.
Even with some weakening that is predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a risky major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said.
The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.
"Listen, I think all of that's going to happen", Hannity said. Don't get complacent. Stay on guard. The storm will likely damage homes and businesses, kill crops, drown livestock, wash away cars and suspend much of the area's economic activity.
"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.
The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Florence is one of the strongest hurricanes on the eastern seaboard in decades, and will bring a triple threat of unsafe storm surge, flooding and hurricane-force winds in parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.
"This is a horrific nightmare storm from a meteorological perspective", University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd said. Airlines canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.
The hurricane is exposing other chinks in the supply chain, as many retailers big and small are running low on storm-prep essentials, from batteries, generators and plywood to bread and bottled water.
The precipitation from Florence will start midday Thursday and then it will rain for four days, said CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater.More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall. With it, the storm will drop significant rainfall across the Midlands - 6 inches to 10 inches - and the CSRA - 3 inches to 6 inches - Saturday into Sunday. That means Florence's powerful winds will drive a more-destructive storm surge as it makes landfall.
Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that has since been downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a hotel in Wilmington several miles inland.
Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said on Wednesday: "This is not going to be a glancing blow", as he warned of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.