Answers to the 5 most asked questions about Hurricane Florence

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Florence's hurricane-force winds extend up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles.

Only seven major hurricanes have hit on the coast between Savannah, Georgia and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina since 1879, CNN reported, and the last was Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Weather and emergency officials are warning people in Florence's path not to interpret maps showing the location of the storm's center, or reports that it is losing top wind strength, as signs that they should relax. Noting the heavy bands on the hurricane's northeast quadrant, he added, "We are on the bad side of this storm".

Trump tweeted yesterday: 'We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida, and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan. The storm surge could reach up to more than 3.9m, if the maximum surge coincides with high tide.

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained unsafe and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. At nine feet of storm surge flooding - expected in parts of North Carolina such as Newport - the only way to survive is to move up to a higher level until the flooding passes. The power companies expect millions of people to be without power for days.

He said during a reception for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients at the White House: 'We're getting tremendous accolades from politicians and the people but we are ready'.

While the storm has since weakened, a storm surge of more than 12-feet and almost 30-inches of rain is still expected.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to take the storm seriously.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired non-profit director.

Outside this zone of destructive winds, damaging winds are still likely, even some distance inland from the coast, which would lead to minor structural damage, downed trees and widespread power outages.

A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina.

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Deadly Tropical Storm Florence brings 'epic' amount of rain to US
Bobby Brown, 50, with his granddaughter Lyric, 1, during a power outage in Florence, South Carolina , U.S., September 14, 2018. In North Carolina , at least five deaths are related to the storm - but "several others are under investigation", Cooper said.

Rain bands are already affecting the eastern part of North Carolina and SC, with rain increasing and waves growing.

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said. It marks the beginning of a prolonged assault from wind and water, which - by the time it's over - is likely to bring devastating damage and flooding to millions of people in the Southeast.

Gradually, Friday through the weekend (local time), the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 643km wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina.

As of 6 a.m., Florence was centered just 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said members would go only if requested with no self-dispatch allowed. "The building's solid and Buddha will protect us".

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said. "Because it's Mother Nature".

Bertha Bradley said she has never favored evacuating ahead of hurricanes.

When staffers realized a nearby Bojangles would stay open, NBC's Matt Bradley says, they opened back up. It's moving north, and is expected to turn away from the U.S. In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

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