Answers to the 5 most asked questions about Hurricane Florence

Florence path

Based on the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the earliest reasonable arrival of tropical storm force winds in SC is Thursday afternoon.

US East Coast residents are running out of time to flee before Hurricane Florence hits the region as soon as Thursday evening, officials warn.

Others turned to social media and held live prayer sessions asking God to cause Hurricane Florence to lose strength.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre said the storm would weaken after making landfall but also linger, dumping heavy rains for days. "We're trying to get everybody out and as such we're shutting the hospital down", said Dr. John Pangia of Grand Strand Health.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.

According to the 8 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Florence is about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, S.C. It is moving to the northwest at 12 mph, which is 3 mph slower than what the hurricane center reported at 5 a.m.

Florence is moving toward the northwest near 15 miles per hour, and this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to continue through today.

These same areas that are inundated with storm surge will also be hammered by damaging winds sustained at 50 to 70 miles per hour with gusts as high as 80 to 90 miles per hour - strong enough to damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power.

Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the coast of the Carolinas as a powerful Category 2 hurricane.

Southwest Virginia, West Virginia, the Ohio River Valley, and western and central Pennsylvania all have a chance of rain from Florence's remnants on Monday and Tuesday that could lead to flash flooding, depending on where the heaviest rainfall rates develop.

"Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the center of the storm due to storm surge", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning.

With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

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With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughters one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

For those in an evacuation area, "there is still time to get out", Cooper said Thursday.

"You're potentially risking the life of a first responder who would try to come and help you, and we don't need that", he added.

"I just hope that people will not decide to write off the storm, and that's the most important thing to save peoples's lives".

But not everyone has packed their bags.

Kelly Salisbury said she's staying put in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, even though most of the town left. "Play in the water, enjoy the sunshine". "We've just never seen anything like this".

She continued: "Of course we're anxious". They formed a convoy to an emergency operations center, according to the Jacksonville Daily News.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km). "You feel like you should have already left".

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Georgia, crashes into waves in the surf bolstered by the incoming Hurricane Florence on the south beach of Tybee Island, Georgia. Downed power lines have also been reported in the area. One emergency official said it will be a "Mike Tyson punch" to the area. "I can take care of all of that", Chris Johnson told ABC News.

"I think I could survive a long time. It's probably good for our marriage". "But I think it'll be OK".

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income. We can keep in touch".

Florence is expected to stall over the Carolinas and remain for almost a day, somewhat reminiscent of how Hurricane Harvey hovered above Houston, Texas, last year.

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