Hurricane Florence Is Generating 83-Foot Waves in the Atlantic

The storm was downgraded to category three with maximum sustained winds of 120mph (195km/h), but officials say it is still "extremely dangerous".

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, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

Measurements by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 110 miles per hour, with higher gusts. The biggest threats from Hurricane Florence are life-threatening storm surge, devastating flash-flooding, and hurricane-force winds.

"In the life of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

According to the National Weather Service, even though Florence is moving swiftly to the northwest, it is believed that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore.

McMaster told residents in some counties that emergency responders will be pulled from areas expected to be hit hard.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said. His home, built 1 mile inland in 2016, is raised 25 feet off the ground and is built to withstand 140-mph winds, he said. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together, and that's what we're going to do". "It wants to get stronger", he said of the storm.

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People on barrier islands or peninsulas were running out of time Wednesday to retreat by bridge or ferry.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time.

The contraflow will end Thursday at noon on 501 and at 6 p.m. on I-26.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

"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.

Several schools in the FOX8 viewing area have closings and delays this week ahead of Hurricane Florence.

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