About 12,000 power outages have been reported so far across North Carolina as tropical storm force winds have started sweeping over land ahead of the arrival of hurricane Florence.
Duke Energy, the largest utility in the Carolinas, predicts as many as 3-million customers will be left in the dark.
Experts say Florence is expected to make landfall along the North-South Carolina border.
Forecasters also predict the Category 2 storm will likely bring days of rain totaling one-metre or more, and a storm surge of more than 3.6-metres near its eye.
And despite the weakening intensity on the wind scale, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging people to treat Florence seriously, pointing out that storm surge warnings have not changed.