The requests to stay safe came from as far as the space that the German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted images of the monstrous storm taken from the International Space Station along with the warning: "Beware, America!"
"Get ready on the east coast, this is a nightmare without jokes that comes for you," said Gerst.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the maximum sustained winds from Florence had dropped slightly to 120 miles per hour (195 kph) and had been degraded to a category 3 of a Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.
The Miami-based NHC noted, however, that although a slow weakening is expected in the next 24 hours, "it is expected that Florence will continue to be a very dangerous hurricane when it approaches the US coast on Thursday and Friday."
Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and residents of the coast frantically embarked on homes and businesses and hit the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.
"Get out of the way, do not play with him, he's big, maybe as big as they've seen him," Trump said. "We will solve it, we are ready, we can".
"But despite that, bad things can happen when you talk about a storm of this size," he added.
– Mike Tyson Punch & # 39;
Florence is forecast to shed up to 40 inches (one meter) of rain in some areas after touching land in North Carolina and South Carolina.
"This rain would cause catastrophic flash floods and significant river flooding," the NHC said.
Waves of life-threatening storms of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) were also predicted in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.
"This is going to be a blow from Mike Tyson on the Carolina coast," said Jeff Byard, associate response and recovery administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"This is not going to be an oblique blow," Byard said, warning of blackouts, road closures, damage to infrastructure and possible loss of life.
Duke Energy, an energy company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity due to the storm and that it could take weeks to restore it.
At 5:00 pm (2100 GMT), the eye of the storm was at 615 km / h southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 26 km / h.
The storm was heading to the coast of North and South Carolina, but heavy rains were also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the forecast trajectory south of the storm after touching land."
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to guarantee public safety," Deal said. "I encourage the Georgians to be prepared for the terrestrial effects of the storm and the storm surge that occurs in the coastal areas."
A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.
People fleeing the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina blocked the roads Wednesday when Florence pounced on the coast to receive a direct impact on a low region with holiday homes facing the sea.
The eastbound lanes of several major freeways have been closed to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads full of vehicles heading outward.
You can not stop Mother Nature & # 39;
In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed his restaurant, Indochine, because all his employees had left the city.
"All my staff is gone," Thompson said. "Nobody is left to work.
"But I'm staying," he said. "The building is solid and the Buddha will protect us."
"What can you do?" she asked. "You can not stop mother nature."
In a trailer park on the outskirts of Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two small children.
"Everything is full," said Espinoza. "I want to take them as far as possible."
"I've been through hurricanes before, but never with children," he said. "If it were not for them, I would not have minded staying here."
South Carolina ordered the mandatory evacuation of a million residents of the coast, while North Carolina ordered the evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.
Florence is being dragged into the Atlantic by two other storms: Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.
However, Helene was weakening and presented no danger to the earth, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.