Although Florence weakened to a Category 2 hurricane late Wednesday night, the storm is still expected to produce catastrophic flooding throughout the Carolinas when it makes landfall Thursday night or Friday.
Hurricane-force winds were blowing 80 miles from its centre, and tropical storm force winds reached up to 195 miles from the eye.
About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.
"They're very expensive pieces of machinery and high-tech aircraft that we do not want to have near any type of storms with high winds that could possibly damage that equipment", Feinstein says, adding that local airport authorities also don't want airplanes left at gates or on the tarmac when the hurricane hits, because they could add to damage and debris and hinder cleanup and recovery efforts.
North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper said on Tuesday: "This storm is a monster".
Forecasters' European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. The storm's size and area affected by hazardous winds have actually expanded, and the threat from storm and rain-induced flooding "have not changed" tweeted Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert and former Hurricane Center director. Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting.
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.
Death toll rises to 11 as Florence pours on the rain
He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet. At the time of landfall, Florence had sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with gusts hitting 106 miles per hour . "Amazing.
A woman died from cardiac arrest in the town of Hampstead after emergency responders had their route to her blocked by downed trees, a county official said. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together".
The outer rim of Category 2 Hurricane Florence has already hit the North Carolina coast. Both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters for people caught by the storm.
Long, the DHS IG's office, and the White House all did not respond to Politico's requests for comment.
Florence was about 235 miles east southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and about 280 miles east southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., moving northwest at 17 mph, as of 5 a.m. EDT Thursday, according to the NHC. Tropical storm force winds and hurricane force winds could last for a duration of hours.
Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation?
Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.
Services and flights have been suspended on Thursday and Friday at Wilmington International Airport on North Carolina's coast.
Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped. The government of Puerto Rico accepted these numbers, too, after many months in which the official death toll was listed at 64 people.