Forecaster: Florence storm surge not diminished

Florence weakens, but threat of flooding rises - AM

Storm Florence weakens but epic rains still expected on US east coast

As of 8 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said Florence was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Hurricane Florence's winds began whipping coastal North Carolina on Thursday as the slow-moving tempest began to unleash fierce rains that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the USA southeast.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

"It's getting late to evacuate", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

The rest of South and North Carolina as well as southwest Virginia may see up to 24 inches of rain.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate the town of Trenton N.C. Sunday Sept. 16 2018
Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate the town of Trenton N.C. Sunday Sept. 16 2018

Click through the slideshow above to see how residents have been impacted by the risky storm, and check back frequently for updates.

About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, Florence packs sustained winds of 110 miles per hour with gusts approaching 130 miles per hour.

The Washington Post also reported the current forecast for the hurricane as of 5 a.m. September 13 is as follows: Florence's top winds are now at 110 mph, and it is barreling northwest at 15 mph, about 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and 250 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C. It's predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours.

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But at this stage, please cut them up and just look to make sure they haven't been contaminated", Dr Young said. Anyone with concerns can phone 13 HEALTH for advice or speak to their GP.

The White House has approved requests from North Carolina and SC for federal emergency declarations, allowing for greater coordination among states and federal agencies.

Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in charge of disaster response, has come under investigation over his use of government vehicles.

The center said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain along coastal areas of the Carolinas, as well as up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia. The storm is huge, the National Hurricane Center says, and its worst effects will reach "a large area regardless of exactly where the center of Florence moves".

A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

South Carolina's beach towns are more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast.

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Roy Cooper said in a statement the flooding danger was more immediate Saturday than it was when Florence made landfall . However, the storm has weakened and is now classified by the HKO as a severe typhoon rather than a super typhoon.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.

The forecast suggests as much as 40in of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

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.

For people who stayed behind near the coast, or find themselves facing the brunt of the storm, officials are offering safety advice. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports. Rain will continue to fall throughout the weekend and into Monday, extending the flooding risk.

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