Hurricane Florence weakens slightly as it moves toward USA coast: NHC

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

SC residents facing record floods with Hurricane Florence. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.

The hurricane, which has yet to officially made landfall, has already inundated North Carolina coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and forecasters say conditions will only worsen as the hulking storm slogs inland.

The Canadian government has warned citizens against travel to the stretch of the U.S. East Coast that is expected to be hammered by Florence.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.

Florence was about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The Weather Channel's forecast video shows the potential damage such surges could inflict on the southern states.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 1.

If the European model is true or the overall trend persists, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said it "is exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". More trees will come down, more power lines will fall, and the number of power outages will go up, said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.

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At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.

"Since the track is slower and the storm will reside in the area for a longer period of time rainfall amounts are expected to be extreme", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a statement. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Rescue helicopters and trucks that can navigate floodwaters are also standing by.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

Some Carolinians have expressed frustration after evacuating their homes for a storm that was later downgraded - but officials have pushed back at suggestions that Florence's threat has been exaggerated. "We just want prayers from everyone".

"The police chief was talking to in Atlantic beach was saying he has just never seen anything like this".

President Donald Trump has said protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority" and that the White House is standing by to offer affected states whatever help they ask for.

"The vast majority of the time the horses know what to do, and they are able to get to higher ground or protect themselves", said Gillikin. "We're fully prepared. Food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready". "Significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland".

"This is an extremely unsafe and life-threatening situation".

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