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Hurricane Florence weakens slightly, expected to reach Carolinas as Cat 3

Hurricane Florence weakens slightly, expected to reach Carolinas as Cat 3

The National Hurricane Center's says it expects Florence will blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then slog westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Wednesday at 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour), down from a peak of 140 mph a day earlier before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind strength.

Across the Carolinas, people are preparing for what experts believe could be a devastating storm.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.

One simply added: 'Your Florence hurricane forecast looks like a giant penis and testicles.

About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states, but some who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival. President Trump said the hurricane is predicted to be one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in years as he warned residents to be prepared and to be careful.

The storm, which is building up over the Atlantic, is due to make landfall in either North or SC within the next few days, and is expected to be the worst storm to hit the area in 30 years.

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"Life-threatening storm surge is forecast along the South Carolina, North Carolina and Southeast Virginia coasts Thursday and Friday", announced Governor Henry McMaster - (R) South Carolina.

The governor of Georgia has declared a state of emergency after forecasts showed Hurricane Florence possibly taking a south-west turn.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

"While some weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the USA coast on Friday", the NHC said in an 11 a.m.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

Spokesman Howard Fowler said restoration could take "weeks instead of days", even though 20,000 workers, including crews from outside the area, were standing by.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said. Most other beachgoers were long done.