Its maximum sustained winds are expected to top 145 miles per hour before losing some steam near the coast.
The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 175kmph late on Wednesday, down from a peak of 225kmph a day earlier, before it was downgraded to a Category 3 and then a Category 2.
This satellite image of Florence hurtling towards the east coast on Wednesday gives a sense of its massive scale.
Incredible time-lapse footage filmed from a hurricane-hunting plane shows what's it's like to fly through the eye of Florence, the storm that's already forced more than 1 million people to evacuate.
Its governor, Roy Cooper, told residents "the time to prepare was nearly over".
"Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in".
Residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in to North and SC bringing potentially deadly flooding, officials warn. As the evacuation orders throughout the region were about to take effect, he told us once his boat is secured - as secure as anything can be in a storm like Florence - he's heading a few miles inland, where he is hoping for the best. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Wednesday morning fog, Florence track shifts west
One trusted computer model, the European simulation, predicted more than 45 inches (115 centimeters) in parts of North Carolina. In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions.
Hurricane Florence: Residents told to 'heed the warnings'
The storm's surge , the rise in sea water above normally dry land at the coast, could reach up to 13 feet at peak. LATER NEXT WEEK: The remnants of Hurricane Florence could bring some heavy rain to the D.C. region by next week.
Google to shut down Inbox app in March 2019
Many of these features slowly became redundant though, as both Gmail and Android itself started adopting Inbox's core features. Google launched Inbox while it still tried to make Gmail better, but not as an alternative to the latter.
In addition to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, five military bases and half a dozen nuclear power plants are also in the path of the storm.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
By late last night, authorities in North Carolina reported almost 7,000 evacuees staying in 71 emergency shelters throughout the state. The Category 4 storm is likely to produce "catastrophic" flooding in the eastern Carolinas, as well as destructive winds. SC announced the decision on Wednesday.
Emerald Isle, N.C. webcam A webcam looking at Bogue Inlet on Emerald Isle, part of the Outer Banks chain of islands on the coast of North Carolina.
We visited one shelter where over 100 people had come. The local adult-services department and the Area Agency on Aging has been in touch with each senior facilities as well, county public information officer Kathryn Murphy said, and has helped them decide whether and how to plan for the hurricane. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together".