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Don't Be Fooled by Hurricane Florence Being 'Downgraded.' It's Still Very Dangerous

Don't Be Fooled by Hurricane Florence Being 'Downgraded.' It's Still Very Dangerous

Hurricane Florence has begun battering it's way through the North Carolina coastline with heavy rain and high winds in what people fear could lead to the deaths of "a lot of people".

Hurricane Florence was pushing a life-threatening storm surge for miles inland with screaming wind that was destroying buildings in its path.

We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

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

At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies.

Tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded by storm surge alone, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a press conference on Thursday local time. Residents should expect to see higher tides than usual on the James and York rivers, as well as possible flooding and beach erosion.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated the coast, more than 1500 United States flights have been cancelled, factories were shut and farmers rushed to save crops, poultry and pigs in anticipation of the storm.

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Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.

Florence was menacing the United States coast just as Super Typhoon Mangkhut was threatening to spur chaos in parts of Asia.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plan to close even if power was lost, and there were lines to get in on Thursday evening. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Florence, a storm expected to significantly impact the U.S.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles east of Wilmington, N.C. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 mph.

The Saffir-Simpson scale that meteorologists use to measure hurricanes reflects only the wind speeds involved in the storm, and right now Hurricane Florence's winds are hovering at maximum speeds of about 110 miles per hour (175 km/h).

Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said. Despite weakening to a Category 1 storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gives this ominous warning: "Don't focus on the category of the storm".


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