NHC downgrades Florence to still unsafe Category 3 hurricane


Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as one metre of rain, to Virginia.

A police vehicle patrols the beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S. September 11, 2018.

Florence's winds in the afternoon were down slightly to 125 miles per hour (205 kph), from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3.

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.

For many of those under evacuation orders, getting out of harm's way has proved difficult, as airlines canceled flights and motorists had a hard time finding gas.

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This general motion is forecast to continue today with a decrease in forward speed as it gets over the Caribbean Sea. Given the lack of deep convection to sustain the cyclone, continual gradual weakening is expected.

In contrast to the hurricane center's official track, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line. Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter warned of the storm's dangers and praised his administration's handling of past hurricanes, rejecting criticism for its response to Hurricane Maria a year ago in Puerto Rico. "Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different". Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm. "We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan)".

Crews also prepared 16 nuclear reactors in the three-state region for the storm.

"We can only hope it won't hit hard", White said.

Weakening winds from Hurricane Florence approach the Carolinas
Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week. RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas...

"Ever stared down the gaping eye of a Category 4 hurricane?"

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the hurricane center says.

Authorities, including President Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are urging residents in the Carolinas as well as parts of Virginia and Georgia to evacuate as the storm continues its path.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

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