Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 1 storm

Florence’s quiet potential disaster: Hog manure

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much as one metre of rain in some places, according to the National Hurricane Center. "All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come". Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 80 miles from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 200 miles out.

Even if you know nothing about hurricanes, an unavoidable sense of doom and destruction overtakes you when you look at this image of Hurricane Florence as it moves inexorably toward North and SC. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence has brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina Coast. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.

Air Force General Terrence J O'Shaughnessy, head of US Command, said search and rescue is a top priority but that the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of rescuers.

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

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But while the storm is predicted to pass near Wilmington, North Carolina, the majority of surge-related flooding will actually be to north near Pamlico Sound.

And in Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

And there are reports of another storm in the Pacific, too. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour (144 kph) by nightfall.

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