Weaker Florence still an extreme danger as landfall approaches

Weaker Florence still an extreme danger as landfall approaches

By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakened to 70 mph (112 kph) as it moved forward at 3 mph (6 kph) about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was "forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the US coast late Thursday and Friday".

It was the second such drop in the space of hours, but the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas. At 1 p.m. Thursday the storm was churning maximum sustained winds of 105 mph located about 115 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., according to the hurricane center. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said "protection of life is the absolute highest priority".

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC today and Saturday.

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", Outlaw said.

On Sept. 14, NHC posted the following warnings and watches: A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina, the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long warned on Thursday that inland flooding could be deadly and the cleanup will take time and patience.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that would see the system likely lingering for days. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power, and that restoring it could take weeks.

Weak steering current will allow the hurricane to drift westward along the SC coast and inland, and center over the state's interior Sunday morning, the NHC projected.

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

"The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.

Before sunrise, high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018.

Images and video posted on Twitter from the town of Washington, North Carolina, show that floodwaters have travelled as much as 30 miles (nearly 50 kilometers) inland along the Pamlico River, drowning the riverfront.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others", she said. "I want to get them as far away as possible". "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.