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Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

On Wednesday, forecasters projected Florence - now a category 4 hurricane - will likely slow down and turn south after slamming the East Coast.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center showed Florence as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour.

Florence's large size - tropical storm force winds extend 170 miles from the center in all directions - means its fury will arrive long before the center of the storm comes ashore, Graham said.

Besides inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 13 feet (4 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast. The storm will bring dangerously high amounts of rain, forecasters say.

While some of the computer forecasting models conflicted, the latest projections more or less showed the storm shifting southward and westward in a way that suddenly put more of SC in danger and imperiled Georgia, too. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states.

More news: US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence

FEMA Administrator Brock Long urged people to prepare for a "very devastating storm", with possibly weeks-long power outages.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state. In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.

The storm's first casualties included a mother and her baby, who died when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit", he added.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.

Speaking at a news conference, the official said the hurricane was expected to spread out into the Central Appalachian mountains, the Tennessee Valley, and southeastern parts of the USA after Saturday.

"I rode out Hugo", Miller said of a 1989 hurricane that caused widespread damage. Residents in some parts of the Carolinas have been ordered to evacuate.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other storms, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac, but neither packs the deadly punch of Florence.