Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, "is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night" and has triggered a hurricane watch for all of North Carolina and part of SC, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane and storm watches were issued for the entire coast of North Carolina on Tuesday morning and for parts of the SC coast including Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington.
Florence, a Category 4 hurricane packing 130 miles per hour winds, is churning ominously with its sights set on the Carolinas. The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway.
The centre of the storm is forecast to meander Thursday, Friday and Saturday over a stretch of coastline saturated by rising seas, inundating several states with rainfall and triggering life-threatening floods. However, UCF's only open weekend is October 27, and North Carolina is playing an ACC game at Virginia that day.
In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again, on a path to hit the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday.
A warm ocean gives hurricanes their fuel, and Florence is moving over an area with water temperatures nearing 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.
"With this storm, what's unique is it's forecast to stall. dropping copious amounts of rainfall across the Carolinas and into Virginia", Long said.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Florence was 580 miles south, south east of Bermuda with winds of 115 mph and strengthening into a major storm. "There is no way to be completely safe", but going inland might not be much safer.
"There's 25% more people living between Charleston (South Carolina) and Morehead City (North Carolina) than there were when Hugo was making landfall", Myers said.
According to AAA, the storm "will likely have an impact on East Coast gas prices this week should the storm follow its projected path".
Part of the danger may come later in the week, due to increased fears Florence "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday", says the Center on Tuesday.
"We've seen nor'easters and we've seen hurricanes before", Cooper said, "but this one is different". "There's no canned goods", Kristin Harrington said as she shopped at a Walmart in Wilmington.
If maps of Florence's trajectory are correct, it will become the most powerful storm to strike the Carolinas in almost three decades. "So will the power lines, as the trees fall down".
Power companies warned residents may be without power for days or weeks.
Freight haulers need to be prepared for many washed out roadways and damage to rail infrastructure across this multi-state area. It is now blowing with 130 miles per hour winds.
However, Hubbard said Florence is not expected to have any impact on Canada, given its predicted track into the USA mainland, where it will likely weaken considerably on the weekend. At that level, it would still cause "devastating damage", according to the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The most sweeping orders come from SC, where the entire coastline was given until Noon on Tuesday to leave - more than one million people on the move.