Florence will weaken once it stops drawing energy from warm ocean waters, but it's still expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday as an extremely risky major hurricane.
Sweet said he thinks Hurricane Florence could cause the USA economy's growth to slow a few tenths of a percentage point, on an annual basis, in the July-September quarter.
As of 11 a.m., the Category 4 storm had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and was on track to make landfall near Cape Fear, N.C., sometime Friday night or Saturday morning, and then move inland across the center of SC.
"So if the hurricane does actually make it inland in North Carolina before making that turn west or south, that would further weaken the hurricane and potentially weaken the effects for the Beaufort area as it heads south or west".
People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways early Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.
"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".
And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties.
Forecasters said conditions are still good for Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, to strengthen a little as it moves over very warm waters.
Nathan Deal (R) on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for the entire state as Hurricane Florence takes aim at the southeast.
In addition to the dangers the expected deluge of water poses, the hurricane center cautioned, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina beginning late Thursday morning".
For anyone needing a place to stay to escape the hurricane, both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters.
Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston.
Col. Glenn McNeill with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said troopers are on standby statewide to assist where needed.
Two big fuel pipelines stand in the hurricane's path, but analysts say they think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.
A crew of about 80 rescuers from Montgomery County is headed to SC to help deal with Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.
Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic. "It goes well inland".
These power outages could last days to weeks, Brock Long, a spokesperson with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told Reuters. "It's called Mother Nature".