Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

A child looks on as a man boards up a mobile home in Wilmington ahead of the hurricane

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, that a "historic storm" would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state.

About 300,000 people have been evacuated from South Carolina, McMaster said.

State officials and the National Weather Service warned the storm's weakening only relates to wind speed, not surges or flooding.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long urged people in mandatory evacuation areas to get out.

After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

The hurricane is also predicted to pass directly over two nuclear power plants in North Carolina, the Brunswick nuclear plant 30 miles south of Wilmington and the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in New Hill, a town farther inland.

Winds were already picking up along the coastline on Thursday morning and Myrtle Beach was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. If the two systems become tropical storms, it would be the first time the Atlantic has had five named storms at once, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1". We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

The storm's center was about 145 miles (235 km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as of Thursday night.

On Thursday, Gregory Lusk, the adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard, said 6,400 guardsmen were on active duty between North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Slower movement means a hurricane has more time to inundate a region with rain and storm surge.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not risky, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

"Heed the warnings", said Byard, adding there was "well over $20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund. "The infrastructure is going to break".

Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help deal with what could be weeks of power outages in the aftermath, the company said.

Thousands have taken refuge in emergency shelters, officials said. "I'm not leaving him here".

"Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated, " he said.

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