States of emergency have been declared in four US states

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category Two Storm as it approaches the Eastern seaboard of the US.

At least five million people are in the crosshairs of the storm ahead of its landfall on the US coast.

States of emergency have been declared in Georgia, Virginia and North and South Carolina.

About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states.

However, many people who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival.

In its latest update, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said a “life threatening storm surge is now highly likely” along portions of the North and South Carolina coasts.

The NHC is also warning of “life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged river flooding in the two states.

Large sea swells will also result in “life threatening surf and rip currents” along the country’s eastern coast.

US President Donald Trump has said the White House is "absolutely, totally prepared" to provide aid once Florence hits.

"We are ready but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country,” he said.

"Residents in the path of these devastating storms should comply with all evacuation orders and other emergency instructions.

“Protection of life is the absolute highest priority and that's what we are doing."

In addition to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, five military bases and half a dozen nuclear power plants are also in the path of the storm.

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station. Image: NASA