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Hurricane Florence downgraded to Category 1; still a unsafe storm

Hurricane Florence downgraded to Category 1; still a unsafe storm

Even so, many residents of Myrtle Beach proudly recalled how they had weathered a number of storms in the past and were confident they could ride out Florence too.

They stayed put during the "thousand-year rain" in 2015, when parts of South and North Carolina received more than a foot of rain in five days, and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, when the Category 1 hurricane caused surge flooding of 3 to 4 feet.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, heavy rains with tropical-storm-force winds were yesterday spreading across the outer banks and coastal south-eastern North Carolina.

"Mandatory" evacuations in coastal Virginia and the Carolinas have been underway for days in advance of Hurricane Florence, but some residents have chosen to remain in their homes.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. "Certainly if you do have to go out, don't drive through any water. We're able", he said.

Listen up, Mother Nature, we are not about to be hit by a hurricane without putting up a fight the best way we know how...by roasting the storm through the use of jokes on the internet.

The 400-mile wide storm is expected to start slamming the N.C. coast sometime Thursday night or early Friday, then weaken to a tropical storm as it drifts into SC, said John Quagliariello, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia. "We just bought a new house so I'm kinda nervous".

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

Allison James who lives in Huntersville, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina said that based on reports this area would not be directly affected. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. "Today the threat becomes a reality".

Florence is widely seen as a test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whose capabilities were stretched thin a year ago as it responded to three major hurricanes.




The high winds will likely snap or uproot numerous trees.

As of 8 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).

In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

"This is a very unsafe storm", Long said.

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.

Rain bands are already affecting the eastern part of North Carolina and SC, with rain increasing and waves growing.

"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

Officials pleaded with residents across the Carolinas to treat the storm as a deadly threat.

"The concern started on Tuesday and then they allowed me to change my flight, but then they had no flights that I could change it to", said flier Jill Murray.


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