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

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C. Thursday Sept. 13 2018

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C. Thursday Sept. 13 2018

While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC.

The NHC said tropical storm-force winds will hit North and SC with full force on Thursday evening.

As many as three million people are expected to lose power.

U.S. emergency officials have warned "time is running out" for people to escape from Hurricane Florence as outer bands of wind and rain began lashing North Carolina.

Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm.

Some areas in the Myrtle Beach/Wilmington area could see as much as 40 inches of rain with storm surges between 9 and 13 feet, overwhelming many beachfront areas and low-lying islands. Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states.

The latest forecast models for Hurricane Florence indicate it is now likely to dump rain on parts of NY and CT early next week.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

The downgraded status of the storm, which indicates that Hurricane Florence is moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 miles per hour, means little in terms of its impact and deadly potential, according to Elliot Abrams, chief forecaster at Accuweather.

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She says people often want to get outside and take pictures.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico. The more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. The Navy, Air Force and Army have been moving people, ships and aircrafts out of harm's way, though evacuations were not mandatory at bases such as Camp Lejeune.

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina", Cooper said. But it could have been worse: Labor Day marked the end of the peak tourism season in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and other coastal getaways.

"Florence was anticipated to make a steady, assured progress directly towards the Carolinas, make landfall, and move directly inland". St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma previous year.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said. Smaller enclaves of Gullah, referred to as Geechee in some areas, are scattered along the Southeast coast from North Carolina to Florida. Looking over a fleet of utility trucks staged near Charlotte Motor Speedway, retired utility worker Paul Anderson confessed that he gets a rush from helping out with recovery efforts.

Aside from safety concerns, Atlantic Coast Conference schools face scheduling obstacles, monetary implications and bowl considerations.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia have declared states of emergency over the storm. Presbyterian has cancelled its football game with Stetson on Saturday. Virginia has moved its Saturday home game against OH to Nashville, Tennessee.

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