Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Thousands flee Florence, head to Florida - Story

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.

Storm surge has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Storm surge watches and warnings are separated from hurricane alerts because hurricane-force winds and storm surges don't always occur at the same place or the same time, said Rick Knabb, the former director of the hurricane center, and now the hurricane expert at the Weather Channel.

Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches (1m) of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and SC.

A satellite altimeter under the northeast quadrant, the strongest area of the storm, recorded the wave.

The storm could strengthen as it continues to move over the warmest sea surface temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit with little wind shear Thursday.

He warned that Florence could be "one of the biggest ever to hit the East Coast".


Hurricane Florence weakened into a Category 2 hurricane as it moved towards east coast of the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, but a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall were still expected.

On Thursday the storm lost some wind speed and slowed its forward motion to around 9 knots as it approached the coast for a landfall Friday.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.

Farmers have learned lessons from past storms - most recently the devastating flooding of 2016's Hurricane Matthew, but this storm will rip through the state during what is normally harvest season. Coast Guard officials urged peopkle needing help to call 911 - and not to use social media, such as Facebook, to seek help.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday.

"We may have 60% of the tobacco harvested in North Carolina".

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