More than 1,200 US airline flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been canceled, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware.
"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said. "We just want prayers from everyone". "This is just a unusual bird".
News of Long's use of government vehicles for long-range commutes follows reports that $10 million was transferred from FEMA funds to pay for immigration detention centers.
The latest rainfall potential map issued by the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center shows a portion of North Carolina receiving in excess of 20 inches of rain.
Cooper, the governor of neighbouring North Carolina, ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County.
The storm has slowed considerably and was moving at 5 miles per hour toward the Port City. Water could rise up to 15 feet.
Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 105 miles per hour (165 kph) by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. People in Atlantic Beach are now there for the storm. Eventually, Florence will veer north into the Appalachian Mountains, bringing soaking rains to Virginia and western North Carolina, before sputtering out late next week near DE and Maryland, the FWS reported. "Surge-related flooding can vary greatly over short distances", the advisory said.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.
Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100mph as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140mph earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4.
Private meteorologist Ryan Maue of Weathermodels.com in an email called the overnight European computer simulation "another model run for the ages".
"Many of us right now in the meteorological community are sort of scratching our heads", Marshall Shepherd, a professor of geography and atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society, told NOVA Next on Tuesday.
Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas.
The climate of a specific area also plays a role in the intensity of rainfall from a hurricane.
Energy companies have also warned that the storm could knock out power for the foreseeable future in some areas.
As of September 13, satellites have spotted 3 tropical storms in the Atlantic: Isaac, Joyce, and Helene.