Hurricane Florence now a Category 2, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

Science

Hurricane Florence has decreased in speed and is now a Category 2 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center announced shortly before midnight Wednesday.

The White House tweeted: "Hurricane Florence poses a catastrophic threat to millions living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia".

North Carolina still faces life-threatening storm surge along the North Carolina coast.

That's because the weather systems that push and pull a storm disappear as Florence nears land around the border between North and SC.

While Florence is no longer considered a major hurricane, its reach has expanded, threatening residents from Georgia to Virginia. Hurricane warnings are issued 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds hit the areas.

Workers prepare a house with storm shutters ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018.

Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever increasing accuracy where it will hit and who will get walloped.

Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. The commanding general says anyone remaining on base will have food, water and protection despite being in the projected path of the storm.

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As of Wednesday morning, Florence was centered more than 500 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west-northwestward.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday". Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations. But it could have been worse: Labor Day marked the end of the peak tourism season in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and other coastal getaways.

As Florence closed in for the worst strike on the area in decades, President Donald Trump and state and local officials urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate before it is too late.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said. "You can't stop Mother Nature". The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time. "If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place".

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Despite pleas from officials, some residents ignored calls to evacuate. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge.

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