Tracking Hurricane Florence as it bears down on U.S. East Coast

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Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

Hurricane Florence began to inundate Frisco in North Carolina's Outer Banks on September 13. As of Thursday, almost a dozen airports have shut down, with more than 1,000 flights being canceled.

Most of those cancellations are tied to the approaching hurricane, now a Category 2 storm with winds expected onshore late Thursday at more than 80 miles per hour.

On the James River, waves are expected to be about 1 foot though Sunday. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area.

The full force of Hurricane Florence is expected to hit on Friday.

How many people will it affect?

Adding to the storm stress is uncertainty about where exactly Florence will make landfall, after a shift in its track put more of the Southeast in danger.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for.

Previously classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is so far the most severe storm to threaten the U.S. mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

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"Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people", FEMA Administrator Brock Long said.

Services and flights have been suspended on Thursday and Friday at Wilmington International Airport on North Carolina's coast. Its surge of ocean water could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 13 feet, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding. Of course, coupled with what could be tropical storm force wind gusts arriving as early as late tonight, there will likely be some trees knocked down as soils become quickly saturated.

The strongest winds will occur where and when the storm makes landfall in a ring around the calm eye of the storm known as the eyewall.

Just below the border, in Horry County, S.C., officials instituted a curfew on Thursday, to last from 7 p.m.to 7 a.m. every day "until further notice". The winds may be down a bit, but the one-two intense punches that we are expecting are still there.

"Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage". Evacuations have begun for people who live in the path of the hurricane which is expected to last a few days. Some 6,000 power outages had already been reported by 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

Because the storm will slow it moves over the eastern Carolinas, these wind impacts will be magnified.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that there are now 96 New Zealanders officially registered with SafeTravel as being in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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