The storm will arrive late Thursday or early Friday

Before Hurricane Florence slams the East Coast, officials are warning people in its path about the dangers of the storm — in no uncertain terms.

“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew,” a National Weather Service Wilmington, North Carolina, spokesperson said in the organization’s forecast.

The spokesperson added, “I can`t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm.”

The Category 4 hurricane is expected to make landfall on late Thursday or early Friday, USA Today reported. On Tuesday night, the hurricane’s winds had reached 140 mph.

Tropical Weather North Carolina, Morehead City, USA - 11 Sep 2018
A North Carolina home prepares for the storm
| Credit: David Goldman/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Hurricane Florence to strike East Coast of United States, Wrighstville Beach, USA - 12 Sep 2018
A North Carolina Walmart’s shelves are depleted
| Credit: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Mandatory evacuations orders are urging more than 1 million people to leave parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, USA Today reported. Hurricane watches and warnings went out to 5.4 million people, according to the Associated Press.

“This storm is … nothing like you’ve ever seen,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper explained, according to CNN. “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster.”

Once the storm arrives, it may stay for multiple days, CNN reported. Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia may also feel the impact of the hurricane.

Carolinas Prepare As Hurricane Florence Approaches As Category 4 Storm
A South Carolina business boards up
| Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

North Carolina and areas of Virginia may receive 30 inches of rain, according to 6ABC. Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., may receive 10 inches of rain.

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President Donald Trump tweeted early Wednesday, “Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated. It will be arriving soon. FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready. Be safe!”

President Donald Trump after a briefing on Hurricane Florence
| Credit: ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images

“This has an opportunity of being a very devastating storm,” FEMA administrator Brock Long added, according to 6ABC. “The power will be off for weeks. You’re going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas. There will be flooding in the inland areas as well.”