Florence is now a Category 4 storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and is forecast to slam into the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday.
The center of Florence, no longer classified as a major hurricane but still posing a grave threat to life and property, is expected to strike North Carolina's southern coast on Friday, then drift southwest along the shoreline before moving inland on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.
Hurricane force winds can be expected up to 70-miles from the center of the storm, and tropical storm force winds can reach up to 175-miles. Highways clogged with people fleeing North and SC early Wednesday as monstrous Category 4 Hurricane Florence rumbled toward the eastern USA as the biggest storm there in decades.
Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.
The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.
National Aeronautics and space administration (NASA) revealed the extent of hurricane Florence, which is close to the coast of the United States.
Florence is forecast to dump up to three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.
"They haven't seen anything like what's coming at us in 25-30 years, maybe ever", President Trump said while appearing with FEMA officials in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
The storm looked likely to make landfall on the coast of North and SC but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.
A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.
"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world".
"This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Deal cited the storm's "forecasted southward track" in a statement declaring a state of emergency.
"Hugo was a direct hit", he said.
Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.
Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina. "In addition to the ongoing, risky storm surge and flash flooding, will be a long-term river flood threat WELL INLAND as very heavy rainfall continues to fall in the coming days"'.
By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 30 inches (76 centimeters) - or even 40 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.
At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other storms, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac. Residents in some parts of the Carolinas have been ordered to evacuate.