Florence will be, in all likelihood, the most intense storm to strike the region in at least 25 years, since Hugo. Stormhunters Jaclyn Whittal and Mark Robinson will be LIVE in the Carolinas with the latest.
"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the Hurricane Center said.
After the storm hits the Carolinas, it is then forecast to threaten parts of Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania with heavy rains and inland flooding, CNN reported.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said meanwhile that Florence's maximum sustained winds had eased slightly and it had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm from a Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.
Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.
Hurricane Florence, Helene, Isaac in the Atlantic
That said, much of the long-term forecast for Isaac was uncertain, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday. In the village of Buxton, Liz Browning Fox plans to ride the storm out in her house on top of a ridge.
Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely risky and life-threatening storm.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
Hours later, Mr Trump approved emergency declarations for both coastal states, a move allowing the release of federal funds and equipment to help protection and recovery efforts. Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) declared a state of emergency for Georgia Wednesday.
Randall Hill / Reuters Lisa Evers (Foreground) and her daughter Amanda Hamilton, both of Oak Island, decorate their storm shutters before evacuating ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Oak Island, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018. The airline doesn't plan to have employees at the airport either day and says travelers will need to rebook their flights online or by phone. For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.
In Wilmington, New Hanover County officials said they had contacted every individual who has registered on its special-needs list - people who need oxygen to breathe or are confined to beds - to make sure they have a safe place to stay during the storm, in some cases finding them temporary shelter.