North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the impact of the storm would be widespread, hitting the coast early Friday morning. Florence is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall.
A three-minute video that NASA published Wednesday morning shows Hurricane Florence from a space-station's-eye view, as a camera some 250 miles above earth pans slowly over the storm. Packing heavy winds with a maximum sustained wind speed of 130 miles per hour (195 km/h), the hurricane is slowly barreling toward the U.S. East Coast, at a speed of approximately 13 miles per hour (20 km/h).
In another post, the astronaut marveled at Florence's size - reportedly 500 miles across - writing that the storm "is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide angle lens". He posted this image to Twitter on September 12, 2018.
"The crew of @Space_Station is thinking of those who will be affected", Arnold said in a tweet.
Another view from astronaut Alexander Gerst of the eye of Hurricane Florence, posted to Twitter on September 12, 2018.
The weather agency also warned "life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event". Arnold shared his first photos of Hurricane Florence, taken when it was still a Category 2 storm.
The 500-mile-wide hurricane, which is barreling toward the U.S. east coast, is expected to make landfall on Thursday night, but then the storm's movement will slow to a crawl, meaning that some coastal areas will get as much as 24 hours of battering winds and rain.
This photo provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as it threatens the U.S. East Coast.
NASA also posted an incredible video of Hurricane Florence viewed from space.
In addition to the wide shots, some of Gerst's photos are zoomed-in views showing a look nearly directly down into Florence's giant eye.