Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC

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Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. Instead, the storm is now expected to make landfall over Wilmington, traveling south over Myrtle Beach between Friday and Saturday, and then traveling through SC and North Carolina to the Tennessee border through Sunday into Monday.

As of 11 p.m., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's projections for Hurricane Florence show 40-50 miles per hour winds affecting Chatham County.

David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina, emphasized the potential implications of hurricane, which is now a category 4.

Elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states...3 to 6 inches, isolated 12 inches.

Florence is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

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A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe, while a tropical storm watch had gone into effect for Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Martin and St. Maarten.

The most severe winds are expected near the border of North Carolina and SC.

Governor Deal said yesterday: "The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence".

Steady streams of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone on North Carolina's coast to flee.

While hurricane forecast cones are usually right, National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline says there is just no way to pinpoint the exact location of landfall with any certainty.

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Duke Energy told The Associated Press that damage from Hurricane Florence could cut off electricity to three-quarters of some 4 million customers in the Carolinas.

More than 300,000 people have already evacuated from the coast, McMaster said, and traffic on the highway was moving steadily on Wednesday.

"I feel just as safe at home as I would at a shelter", Batts said. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

The hurricane center's projected track previously had Florence charging into the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

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"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington. Most other beachgoers were long gone.

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