According to CNN, the hurricane hit the east coast of the United States with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.
It is expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
In all, the US military said it positioned about 9,600 USA service members, including 6,570 National Guard personnel, at various bases across the Southeast, along with helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles, in order to mount Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.
The Weather Channel produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to show the horrifying reality of what 9-foot flood waters might look like in North Carolina. "I hope we don't but that might be the only thing that would affect us", James said.
Officials have warned that the life-threatening storm could come with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph and carries a risk of "catastrophic" flooding.
It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.
A building is seen through heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.
The southern portion of the Virginia coast is under a tropical storm warning - from north of Duck, North Carolina, to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
Employees at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio for the "first time in history", the station posted on Facebook Thursday night.
As Hurricane Florence barreled into the shores of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., early Friday, Americans braced for destruction that will effectively shut down daily life across the Southeastern United States in the coming days.
A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel at the height of the storm. As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier island chain, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.
As of 3 a.m., Florence hadn't moved and was still centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers.