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A hurricane warning has been issued for Bladen County as of 5 a.m. Thursday morning. A hurricane warning means hurricane-force winds are expected in the area over the next 36 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

While Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 Hurricane, residents are urged to remain vigilant and to heed Emergency Management officials.

“Florence is now a Category 2, but we can’t let our guard down as the Surge and Flood Risk are still life threatening to our area,” said Reid Hawkins, a National Weather Service meteorologist, in an overnight briefing.

Bladen County could potentially see winds in excess of 100 mph and estimated rainfall amounts of up to 10 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Residents who live in low-lying areas or along rivers are encouraged to prepare for the potential of flooding, according to Emergency Management officials.