Hurricane Florence weakens slightly as it moves toward USA coast: NHC

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, which frees up help from federal agencies. And that's just the prelude to untold days of misery.

Hurricane Florence has arrived in North Carolina, bringing massive floods and damage caused by heavy rain and an enormous storm surge.

In a new demonstration of the network's CGI capabilities, hosts have presented from the centre of a digital storm surge to demonstrate the hurricane's damaging potential. "Tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded, and many more by rising rivers and creeks".

And don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a strong Category 2 hurricane.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1". "We've just never seen anything like this".

Tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday. 'We're going to get to Floyd we're going to get to Florence, excuse me, and we're going to concentrate on the life safety issues, 'he said. That's enough to fill more than 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters with more facilities being opened.

"It's cumulative damage", Myers said. "So will the power lines, as the trees fall down".

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour by nightfall.

As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

While Florence's winds won't be as intense as first feared, the storm could dump as much as 3 feet of rain and generate storm surges as high as 13 feet in coastal areas, the weather service said.

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas
Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge. Up to 10 inches of rain is predicted as far west from the Atlantic Ocean as Charlotte, N.C., the NHC's Ken Graham said Thursday.

Spokeswoman Diane Villa said some of the larger animals - including bison and elk - will be put in fenced-in yards instead of barns because they do not like being in fully enclosed spaces.

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina. They also have three dogs and three parrots.

Horton pleaded for volunteers to take in their animals for the duration of the storm, a common, plaintive refrain at other shelters across the area.

And there's no way her family could afford that - or the $1,728 per room another hotel quoted.

"We're avoiding euthanasia at all costs", Pender County Animal Shelter manager Jewel Horton told The Washington Post. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

"Your time is running out", Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said midmorning Thursday. In Craven County, New Bern's mayor says the town has seen historic flooding, with as much as 10 feet of water reported in some places. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

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

The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm, but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit.

Even though the ISS is 400km above the storm, Florence is so huge that astronauts needed a wide-angle lens to capture the storm. So if you find yourself here, please get out.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Olivia has made landfall in the Hawaiian islands, the Philippines are bracing for the powerful typhoon Mangkhut, and Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing the Leeward Islands. Hurricane Helene and Subtropical Storm Joyce were off in the Atlantic, posing no threat. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon.

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