Florence weakens to Category 1, but days of rain and wind underway

Florence weakens to Category 1, but days of rain and wind underway

Florence weakens to Category 1, but days of rain and wind underway

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"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday", a recent NHC update said.

As of Friday afternoon Australian time, Florence was centred about 55 kilometres east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

While Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it remains unpredictable according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The NHC warned that storm surge could still reach up to three metres high between North Carolina's Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, though it could be higher in the Bay, Neuse, Pamlico and Pungo Rivers, it said. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN team had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising until it was too unsafe to stay in the area. 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. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

"A turn toward the west-northwest and west at a slow forward speed is expected through Friday, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion Friday night and Saturday", the NHC said.

As of Thursday morning, two of the 11 nuclear power plants in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia were operating at slightly reduced levels, according to EIA.

SC authorities reported one death. "We're able", he said.

His friend Daniel Gomez is also planning on sticking around.

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches (72 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Survey said, while more than 25 inches (63 cm) have fallen in the Newport, Morehead City area since Thursday.

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The massive storm is larger than North Carolina and South Carolina - combined, according to South Carolina Emergency Management. Now, many more people and houses are set to endure hurricane-force winds, which extend 80 miles out from Florence's center.

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", Smith said.

Portions of a boat dock and boardwalk are destroyed by powerful wind and waves as Hurricane Florence arrives September 13, 2018, in Atlantic Beach, N.C.

On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris. Once the power goes out, it could be several days and possibly a week or more before electrical service is restored in some communities. A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, has shut operations. That's enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

Officials had warned before the storm that the rains could risk tainting waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch.

By the time the storm leaves the region, forecasters expect that it will have dumped 50 to 70 cm of rain in coastal areas, with some parts possibly being inundated with up to 100 cm. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit. "Unfortunately, sweet potatoes and peanuts are just getting underway with harvests, and I'll remind you that we're number one in the nation in sweet potatoes".

In addition, hurricane-strength winds are predicted to batter everything in the storm's path.

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