Hurricane Florence's outer edges have started to batter the coast of North Carolina - with winds of 100mph bending trees and shooting frothy seawater onto the streets.
When all is said and done, Florence could pour 40 inches of rain along some parts of the North Carolina coast, according to CNN.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Centre director Ken Graham said.
Florence is moving at 9 kilometers per hour - giving it more time to churn, suck up water, batter the coast, and bring massive amounts of rain inland.
"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.
The storm made landfall at around 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Inland cities and towns will not be spared from the storm, with anywhere from 5-20 inches of rain forecast to fall in many parts of North and SC. The center of the storm is expected to maintain a westward track across southeastern North Carolina Friday and across eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.
This rainfall may cause unsafe flash flooding.
Tornadoes are also possible.
The Pentagon has dispatched two ships and a Marine unit offshore to provide help if needed.
More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is not clear how many left.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence", said Deal.
But one innovative weather report has been praised for showing exactlyhow high water levels could get thanks to the storm.
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. On Friday, he applauded the efforts of emergency responders.
"We have prepared everything", he says, "to have enough food, water, batteries, radio, first-aid supplies, and everything we need to be safe". "Thank you!", Trump wrote on Twitter.
Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday, the NHC added.