Hurricane Florence shifts south; Georgia and Carolinas hunker down

Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 2 still threatens millions of homes

Hurricane Florence deserves all the names it's being called as it threatens to cause historic flooding, blow catastrophic winds and idle for days over the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia.

East Carolina University obviously got that memo.

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

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.

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Forecasters said wind speeds have dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph), reducing it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 2, and additional fluctuations and weakening were likely as it swirled toward land.

Alice Drive Middle School received an email from Jeff Goldstein, who is the director of the Student Space Flight program, that included photos of Hurricane Florence taken from astronauts aboard the International Space Station. With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

The storm is moving steadily toward the Carolinas' coastal areas.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said the hurricane is looking like a major event.

Forecast models predict Florence's center may slow to a crawl just off North Carolina early Friday and make a southwesterly turn - punishing the coast while moving perhaps only 2 to 3 miles per hour. "It's going to happen". "We just do a deep clean when they leave".

"I've never seen the president and all these other people talk the way they're talking", he said while waiting for an evacuation bus. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma a year ago. "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". The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

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