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Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Hurricane Florence had weakened to a Category 2 storm by Thursday afternoon, when winds and rain began hitting the Carolina coast.

ADCIRC predicts Florence's winds will cause 9 to 13 feet of storm surge in some areas along the North Carolina coast.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

"It's getting late to evacuate", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. In the tiny community of Sea Breeze near Wilmington, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptized because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" later.

Despite having been downgraded earlier on Thursday from a more risky category 3 (with 111-129mph winds), weather experts still plea United States citizens for caution.

By the time it leaves, it's expected to have unloaded 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina, meteorologist Ryan Maue said. The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet - that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said.

"These bays, these rivers and these inlets, there's so much storm surge the water is being literally forced to flow the opposite direction", Graham said.

Myrtle Beach was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. "I'm going to Charlotte". On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".

As of 8 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).

Although Florence has recently been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it's still set to be devastating.

As of 6:00AM AEST, the hurricane force winds have arrived.

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Florence is now a Category 4 storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and is forecast to slam into the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the briefing said. Those winds can heard howling at the Frying Pan, a decommissioned lighthouse 55km off the North Carolina coast.

The NHC said Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land.

Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not unsafe, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks. "It's been an ordeal but we're coming through this fairly well", Arakawa said at a news conference. "The infrastructure is going to break, the power is going to go out".

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

Terrifying as the situation is (I am regularly checking on my folks, who abandoned Charleston for the highlands of North Carolina), there is a silver lining.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children.

"We'll handle it. We're ready".