It has forecasted that parts of North Carolina could receive as much as up to one metre (40 inches) of rain.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence along with its pounding winds and rain.
More than 1.5 million people living on the US East Coast have been ordered to leave their homes as Hurricane Florence heads towards them.
The storm was heading for the coast of North and SC but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south. SC has also canceled classes through at least Saturday due to the storm. Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.
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"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house" in North Carolina, Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his vehicle. Amazon is already preparing to do what it can for those in the storm's path.
Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally unsafe to be outside, Graham said.
"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said.
He said: "We are ready but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country". "The water level will get a little high but we'll be fine". "I was in the same house and it stood fine".
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Its governor, Roy Cooper, told residents "the time to prepare was nearly over".
If some of the computer projections hold, "it's going to come roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say, 'I'm not sure I really want to do this, and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland,"' said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground forecasting service. "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely". More than 2,000 Florida utility workers were also sent to help restore power after the storm hits.
Federal states of emergency have been declared in all three states, and collectively about 1.5 million people have fled the coast under mandatory evacuation orders.
Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.
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