Early Thursday Florence was about 235 miles (378 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 280 miles (450 kilometers) east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
All 22 of the FBS and FCS games scheduled this weekend in South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina were canceled or adjusted in some way due to the storm, according to CBS' Jerry Palm. Catastrophic floods could follow if the storm stalls inland, it said.
The storm could cause a life-threatening storm surge, essentially walls of water, ahead of landfall which is why FEMA warns that Wednesday is the last feasible day to evacuate areas vulnerable to the storm.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is encouraging residents to heed the warnings of state and local officials, and said the lines of communication remain open. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in parts of the region while university campuses, schools, and factories have been shut.
Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.
"I'm taking a life-threatening risk, but it's my opportunity to protect my property", Hoffman said. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well. Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) declared a state of emergency for Georgia Wednesday. Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. "There's nobody left to work".
Mr McMaster said: "Even responders can not stay there".
"What can you do?" she asked.
In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.
"The biggest challenge has been the amount and rapid succession of unprecedented disasters", she said. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
"We could maybe get some outer bands or very, very outer bands of the hurricane", said Jeremy Geiger, a weather service meteorologist.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.