Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Don't play games with it, says Trump as Hurricane Florence heads for US East Coast

Don't play games with it, says Trump as Hurricane Florence heads for US East Coast

Previously classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is so far the most severe storm to threaten the USA mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

With the storm already making an impact on the coastline, these are the most commonly asked questions, answered by the NBC Charlotte First Warn Storm Team. Floyd produced 24 inches of rain in some parts of the state, while Florence has already dumped about 30 inches in areas around Swansboro.

Hurricane expert Dr Rick Knabb warns: "Yes good news that intensity of Florence has come down, to lessen wind damage somewhat". On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through the streets of Hatteras Village, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

The biggest surge should occur just to the north of where the eye of the storm comes ashore, which the Hurricane Center projects in southeastern North Carolina.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm. The timing of the official landfall could change with any shift in Florence's track over the next 12-18 hours.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes. Storm surge warnings, hurricane warnings, and tropical storm warnings are in effect along the coast of the Carolinas. But barber Josh Dais says the island's 5,000 residents now are trying to decide whether to flee ahead of Hurricane Florence. Heavy rains are expected to move in late Saturday night through Monday.

Hurricane Florence weakened from a Category 4 down to a Category 2 storm Wednesday night but the massive system is still considered extremely unsafe and life threatening.


FlightAware expects the number of cancellations to rise, although "the limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", spokeswoman Sara Orsi said in a statement.

The forecast calls for as much as 102cm of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

AP reported that as many as 1.7 million people are under mandatory or voluntary evacuation in the region.

How big is Hurricane Florence?

. Overall, Florence is about 400 miles (644 kilometers) wide.

Georgia joined four other coastal states issuing an emergency declaration as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of rain on the southern state.

Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend.

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