US President Donald Trump visited his private Virginia golf club for several hours as Hurricane Dorian bore down on the south-east coastline.
Trump travelled by helicopter from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland to his property in Virginia, reports News.com.au.
The president gave the impression as he left the White House on Friday that he would spend Saturday at Camp David with experts monitoring what has developed into a powerful Category 4 storm.
He said he would return to Washington on Sunday to attend a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump travelled with a FEMA official and that he's being briefed "every hour." Trump returned to Camp David later on Saturday, where was briefed on the hurricane. Grisham tweeted that he will receive regular updates throughout the weekend.
Hurricane Dorian is being billed as the biggest storm to hit the state's east coast in nearly 30 years.
Forecasters have warned that no one is out of danger but the latest path projections show it will spare Florida a direct hit.
The projected path by the National Hurricane Centre as of its 11am (1am AEST) forecast showed the storm strafing the northern Bahamas on Sunday and Monday, but then taking a sharp right so the centre of the storm doesn't make Florida landfall.
The hurricane centre has already measured gusts of 185 mph (300 km/h), and the storm's sustained winds are projected to grow to 155 mph (250 km/h) by 8pm (10am AEST), which is just shy of Category 5 status. Forecasters say it may reach Category 5 on Monday.
"We're seeing some better news for Florida in regard to the longer term forecast for Dorian," said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King. "Not only has the NHC official track shifted the storm more east on approach to Florida but, the latest modelling is showing a big swing east. … We're certainly keeping our fingers crossed for this."
The state's east coast from Palm Beach County up to Cape Canaveral and inland to parts of Orange County are still within the three-day cone of uncertainty, though. The five-day projection includes even more of the state, but the consensus path now has the storm headed for landfall near the South Carolina and North Carolina border.
It came as terrifying images of the storm — taken by NASA cameras from space — have been released, showing Dorian's brutal presence over the Atlantic Ocean.
US President Donald Trump warned that Hurricane Dorian could be an "absolute monster".
"All indications are it's going to hit very hard and it's going to be very big," Mr Trump said in a tweeted video.
Mr Trump compared Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which obliterated thousands of homes south of Miami with winds topping 165kmkm/h (266km/h) in 1992.
The National Hurricane Centre said the storm is tracking at nearly 36km/h faster and a day later than previously forecast. The Centre called it "extremely dangerous".
Forecasters warned that the storm's slow movement could subject the state to a drawn-out pommeling from wind, storm surge and heavy rain.
"If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that's a big deal," said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.
"A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims."
WNo immediate mass evacuations were ordered.
Along Florida's east coast, local governments began distributing sandbags, shoppers rushed to stock up on food, plywood and other emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores, and motorists topped off their tanks and filled gasoline cans.
Some fuel shortages were reported in the Cape Canaveral area.
Josefine Larrauri, a retired translator, went to a Publix supermarket in Miami only to find empty shelves in the water section.
"I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened," she said. "What's the use of going all the way to Georgia if it can land there?" In Vero Beach, about 225 kilometres up the coast from Miami, Lauren Harvey, 51, scoured the aisles of a nearby supermarket in search for non- perishable foods that could last her throughout the storm.
Ms Harvey, who works in medical billing, is going through a divorce and recently moved from the Philadelphia-area. She said she is not sure what to expect and is preparing to spend her very first hurricane alone.
"I just moved here, so I'm lost," she said with a blank expression on her face, after grabbing a couple of water bottles from a scantily stocked shelf. "I don't know what I'm going to do." Feeding on the warm waters in the open ocean, Dorian steamed toward the US after rolling through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where it inflicted less damage than feared but was blamed for at least one death.
Mr Trump had reignited his feud with the Mayor of San Juan Yulin Cruz, which started after Hurricane Maria, as Dorian approached Puerto Rico.
Jeff Board, an associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned that Dorian is likely to "create a lot of havoc with infrastructure, power and roads," but gave assurances FEMA is prepared to handle it, even though the Trump administration is shifting hundreds of millions of dollars from FEMA and other agencies to deal with immigration at the Mexican border.
"This is going to be a big storm. We're prepared for a big response," Mr Byard said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency, clearing the way to bring in more fuel and call out the National Guard if necessary, and Georgia's governor followed suit.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian began rerouting their cruise ships. Major airlines began allowing travellers to change their reservations without a fee.
The hurricane season typically peaks between mid-August and late October. One of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US was on Labour Day 1935. The unnamed Category 5 hurricane crashed ashore along Florida's Gulf Coast on September 2. It was blamed for over 400 deaths.