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Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water. The storm's size and area affected by hazardous winds have actually expanded, and the threat from storm surge and rain-induced flooding "have not changed" tweeted Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert and former Hurricane Center director.

Florence is now a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale, and has winds are at 105 miles per hour (165 kmh) according to the latest data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

"Florence is still grinding its way across North Carolina", Governor Roy Cooper said in a briefing Friday afternoon.

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

"Don't relax; don't get complacent". "Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality".

The National Hurricane Center predicts the hurricane will cause up to 13 feet of storm surge on the East Coast. Some 6,000 power outages had already been reported by 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). Parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet (3 meters), he said.

Florence's remnants are expected to keep traveling north and then northeast, and could drop several inches of rain in eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. She died Friday morning.

"I was feeling fine until I woke up this morning and this is a ghost town", said Kristin Beard, a 40-year-old Myrtle Beach marketer.

The storm made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the gloom of dawn Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

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The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.

He referenced the floods of 2015 as well as Hurricane Hugo in an attempt to underline the gravity of the situation.

Once the winds die down, the linemen will set out, two to a truck, to fix wires brought down by Florence.

McMaster urged people in areas under Tuesday's mandatory evacuation order to leave now if they haven't already done so. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000". Meanwhile, House Democrats slammed Trump for dismissing Maria's death toll as a plot.

If the latest prediction holds true, we will see tropical-force winds - from 39 to 73 miles per hour - from 1 a.m.to 4 p.m. Saturday, accompanied by continuous downpours through Monday morning, said Darren Player, the county's emergency management director. He said on Thursday he was focused on Florence but that he had followed all statutes and laws would cooperate with any investigation.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"This is a very risky storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground. Additional emergency personnel from 13 states have arrived in North Carolina to assist with the storm, including swift water rescue teams, emergency medical personnel, and others.

But a pair of dolphins appeared to take the chaos in stride after they were spotted swimming against the current near the shore in Wilmington. Above the depopulated streets of Rockingham, North Carolina, was a menacing sky with fast-moving clouds. "I'm a big chicken".