Hurricane Florence: Storm weakens slightly, still unsafe

White House Buckles in For Hurricane Florence

Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections' Palmer Pre Release Center a Level 1 Minimum Custody Prison in Florence, South Carolina, was evacuated in advance of Hurricane Florence due to security reasons.

At 11:00 am (1600 GMT), the eye of the storm was about 485 miles (785 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving in a northwest direction at 15 mph (24 kph).

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring risky rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.

KHOU reports the storm could bring 10 inches of rain to isolated spots in South Texas.

"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, including from the Eastern Shore.

News that the storm could plow through SC after landfall came shortly after McMaster lifted his mandatory-evacuation order for Beaufort County and many other areas south of Charleston. Even normal water is warm enough for a storm to form there, but this adds to the storm's fuel and its rainfall. "People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this".

The storm, which fell from category four to category three on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strengthen despite it weakening on Wednesday.


For anyone needing a place to stay to escape the hurricane, both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters.

Meteorologist Sandy LaCorte said the 11 a.m. forecast did not change much from the one six hours prior, and that the track takes the unsafe storm right through the heart of SC.

A view of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.

Two big fuel pipelines stand in the hurricane's path, but analysts say they think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.

Director Tom Collins says the woman in Hampstead had a heart attack Friday morning, but emergency crews could not get to her because of downed trees in the road.

An additional 25 percent of deaths are related to rain, he said.

These power outages could last days to weeks, Brock Long, a spokesperson with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told Reuters.

The president made his comments in a videotaped message from the White House Rose Garden that he tweeted out on Wednesday morning. "The biggest hazard that we're anxious about is storm surge", Long said. You never know. But we know.

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