Hurricane Florence lashes Carolinas, heavy rain leads to floods

The Latest A deadly hurricane’s long big slosh begins

The Latest A deadly hurricane’s long big slosh begins

Georgia joined a number of east coast states Wednesday in declaring a state of emergency.

"A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline".

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained risky and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Director Ken Graham says there is nothing "minor" about this hurricane.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

A fast-moving hurricane can be deadly, but a hurricane that stalls-meaning that it spends more time pounding a particular area with strong winds and heavy rain-can be even worse.

Adding to concerns, forecasters warned the larger and slow-moving storm could linger for days around the coast, leaving many without power and supplies.

Oddly, the closer Hurricane Florence gets to land, the murkier its future gets.

Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

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Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 165 kilometres per hour (105 miles per hour), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

As of 11am local time, Florence was centred about 145 miles south east of Wilmington and its forward movement slowed to 10mph.

Florence's hurricane-force winds were blowing 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 195 miles (315 kilometers) from the eye.

FEMA already has been in place, said Tillis, as his state is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, caused catastrophic flooding in North Carolina when it hit in October 2016.

Brenda Bethune told NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning that public safety crews have been checking to make sure businesses are secure, and looking for anything that could become a projectile as the winds come ashore.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina", Cooper said. Christy Hall said that when the I-26 lane reversal begins to be dismantled Thursday evening at 6 p.m., that should not be viewed as an indication the mandatory evacuation has been lifted.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the storm with his dog Canelo.

"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.

The Coast Guard said ocean-going vessels were told to prepare to leave.

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