US President Donald Trump promised on Wednesday that the federal government was "ready" and "able" to handle Hurricane Florence, warning residents to get out of the way as the monster storm bears down on the East Coast.
"They say it's about as big as they have seen coming to this country, and certainly to the East Coast as they've ever seen," Trump said.
"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world," he added in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
Florence is currently a Category 4 hurricane on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale and was forecast to slam into the Carolinas later this week.
More than a million people are under mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents frantically boarded up homes and businesses and hit the road as the storm approached.
Florence is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps almost a meter of rain in some areas.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 4m in some places were also forecast.