The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with winds that have decreased significantly to 100 miles per hour.
But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". And if we feel the need to leave we'll go.
As of 8 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).
Jamie Thompson walks through flooded sections of East Front Street near Union Point Park in New Bern, N.C. Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate throughout Friday.
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. The ISS is now orbiting at an altitude of about 400 km above the surface of the Earth meaning it has an incredible view of Hurricane Florence as it rages.
The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.
North Carolina and SC are bracing for the onslaught, which could bring storm surges as high as nine feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas.
The storm is not expected to change much in strength before making landfall.
The most recent predictions no longer have Florence traveling north, along the Atlantic coast.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.
Hurricane Florence, once rumored to strike as a Category-5 storm, will strike with less powerful wind, but it will drop much more rain on the area than initially expected.
After hitting the North Carolina coast, the hurricane will cut down into SC before sweeping into western North Carolina and north from there.
One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks.
An estimated 10 million people live in the storm's path, according to the US Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation.
The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.
"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said. They are heeding the warnings to get out of the Carolinas before the storm hits.
The Pentagon has dispatched two ships and a Marine unit offshore to provide help if needed.
On Tuesday, less than 20 hours after McMaster issued an evacuation order for Beaufort County, the governor rescinded the order for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties, not including Edisto Beach.
Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who made a decision to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.
At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence. "We're able", he said.
According to the National Weather Service, even though Florence is moving swiftly to the northwest, it is believed that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday.