Hurricane Florence has weakened but it will still be devastating

Florence, now a Category 2 hurricane, is forecast to unleash extreme storm surge, possibly historic flooding rains, and damaging winds in the Carolinas beginning Thursday.

Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events.

Although the storm is approaching the US coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley". Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped. "Time is running out.Power will be out for a long time, think about what you need".

The storm's center was about 170 miles southeast of Wilmington at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a National Hurricane Center briefing. But Gov. Larry Hogan said he wouldn't cancel a statewide emergency declaration as the threat of Florence's remnants looms.

Train travel: Amtrak has announced cancellations on northbound and southbound trains going through North and SC. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave".

Forecasters said some of Florence's outer bands could bring heavy rain and perhaps isolated flooding to Maryland, and they warned that significant coastal flooding was possible along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay as winds push waters on shore.

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State officials and the National Weather Service warned the storm's weakening only relates to wind speed, not surges or flooding.

After landfall, the storm is expected to linger over the area for a few days, which would result in rising river levels and lakes. It is still considered risky with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.

"This is a life-threatening situation". As serene as the images are, it's hard to imagine what conditions are like in the storm and on the water under it.

Numerous communities throughout the region have issued either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School. Spokesman Howard Fowler said restoration could take "weeks instead of days", even though 20,000 workers, including crews from outside the area, were standing by.

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