Hurricane Matthew has claimed the lives of 140 people as officials upgrade the storm to Category 4 level.
A total of 136 people are now dead in Haiti with the storm now hitting 140mph as it approaches Florida.
Most of the victims were killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers.
Apocalyptic scenes are playing out in cities and towns in the path of Hurricane Matthew - which could affect more than 12 million Americans - as people who are staying put stock up on food and other supplies.
Supermarket shelves have been cleared of almost every item, meaning there could be dire consequences for those who haven't already purchased enough goods to get them through a potentially catastrophic storm and uncertain aftermath.
Those who have decided to flee to safer ground - or need fuel to run generators if and when the power goes out - are facing long queues at petrol stations as the state faces what could be its biggest evacuation ever.
Personal items are set out to dry as homeowners cull through the debris of their homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew / AP
A man salvages personal items from his home after it was destroyed / AP
Hurricane Matthew has now been upgraded to a Category 4 storm / CNN Weather
There was also a rush to purchase planks of wood to cover windows and doors at homes and businesses as Florida - currently in a state of emergency - prepares for what may be the strongest hurricane in the past ten years.
The US National Hurricane Center said the storm's eye is expected to move very close to the east coast of the Florida peninsula Thursday night through Friday night, bringing 125mph winds with gusts that are even more powerful.
At least 102 people have now been killed as the storm approaches Florida / AP
People who haven't stocked up yet are finding empty shelves in US supermarkets / Getty
Those who are staying were told to have enough supplies to last at least three days / Getty
It could make direct landfall as it moves up the coastline.
In addition to winds, a dangerous storm surge, large and destructive waves and inland flooding are major concerns in Florida.
People line up to fill their propane gas cylinders / REUTERS
There were long queues at petrol stations / Getty
Hurricane Matthew is seen moving through the Bahamas / Reuters
Parts of the eastern coast could see a storm surge of up to 9ft.
Surge-related flooding depends on the timings of the surge and tidal cycle, said forecasters.
The NHC said: "There is a danger of life- threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida east coast and Georgia coast from Deerfield Beach to Altamaha Sound."
Local officials advised residents to store food and water for at least three days, and fill up their vehicles.
Workers board up a restaurant / Getty
A boarded-up International House of Pancakes / Getty
Those who are not leaving started to snap up necessary goods in shops and supermarkets several days ago.
One storm-weary resident said: "We're used to it. So you just do it in the time and manner, and then you'll be OK."
Another resident said this kind of hurricane is not common and Matthew is not so worrisome compared to Andrew, a deadly hurricane that hit Florida in 1992.
A motel in North Carolina displays a sign asking Hurricane Matthew to stay away / Getty
They said: "We haven't had one for years now. I've been through Andrew. That's worse."
President Barack Obama cancelled his visit to Florida which was scheduled for Wednesday.
He met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss preparations and a response to any disaster.