As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
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.
North Carolina and SC are bracing for the onslaught, which could bring storm surges as high as nine feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas.
A satellite altimeter under the northeast quadrant, the strongest area of the storm, recorded the wave. All seven of North Carolina's ferry routes were shut down.
"Bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size", Trump said Wednesday morning.
At this time the storm surge, where winds and the mass of the storm push water forward over beaches and anything that is within 15 - 20 feet from sea level.
"I came to video it so I can remember what it looked like before the storm because I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here (after Florence)", she said.
In Charleston, the city government said that after giving out 53,000 sandbags, "there is no longer any sand available at any city of Charleston location".
Duke Energy Corp. expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. Older homes and less-reinforced homes will sustain some wind damage as well.
As Florence closed in, some residents weighed whether to ride it out.
Mayor Joe Benson of Carolina Beach, a small town near Wilmington with a permanent population of about 6,300, said he believes half of the residents have stayed on the island.
Florence could have devastating impacts in Virginia, including storm surges, inland flooding, downed trees and power outages, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
Carla Mahaffee said she would be riding out the storm with friends, as they do during every hurricane.
"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said crops such as tobacco and corn are in midharvest while sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybeans and cotton are still in the field.
Officials said traffic was moving well Wednesday though there have been two minor accidents in lanes where cars were traveling in the opposite direction from normal.
Hurricane Florence, after weeks of warnings, has finally begun to touch down in the Carolinas on Thursday afternoon.
Next week, when Florence has finally passed the Carolinas and moved into the Ohio Valley, the rain will have been the big story.
As Hurricane Florence bears down on the North and SC coasts, some residents are ignoring officials' calls to evacuate.
Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
Florence's expanse has even captured the attention of the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station, who have been tweeting pictures of the storm back to Earth.
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. Only one storm scared them enough to leave the island. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".