The Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph is expected to produce 20 to 30 inches of rain in the coast North Carolina area, and 5 to 10 inches in western SC and northern North Carolina, per the National Weather Service.
Recent forecasts show the likely path of the hurricane and surrounding storm to head southwards after smacking into North Carolina and SC.
Appeals to stay safe came from as far away as space as German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted pictures of the monster storm taken from the International Space Station along with the warning: "Watch out, America!" "If you are not under an evacuation order, finish your preparations today".
Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and it may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.
Fears about Hurricane Florence spread south on Wednesday, with Georgia declaring a state of emergency after officials in the Carolinas urged people to evacuate the coast ahead of the storm's expected pounding winds and rain-driven floods.
"Get out of its way, don't play games with it, it's a big one, maybe as big as they've seen", Trump said. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".
The president said: "The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority".
But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.
There is a danger of flash flooding and river flooding, particularly in the Pee Dee, Quagliariello said. "Hurricane Florence will be a life-changing event for many people in the Carolinas".
"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.
Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.
As of 8 p.m., the storm was centered 335 miles (540 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).
Across several eastern states, residents scrambled to leave as the Category 4 storm, with winds of 225kmh, approached.
Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall". "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".