Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

As a result, Florence is no longer a major hurricane but still regarded as a large, unsafe and life-threatening storm to hammer the states of North Carolina and SC, as well as some other portions along the U.S. East Coast for days.

At 1 p.m. Thursday the storm was churning maximum sustained winds of 105 mph located about 115 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., according to the hurricane center.

By 1:50 pm (1750 GMT) the winds had dropped to 75 miles per hour (120 kph) and the center was moving west at a 6 miles per hour (10 kph), the NHC said, and parts of North and SC would get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).

The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC on Thursday night and Friday, the NHC added. As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the US Geological Service said.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

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.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

Along with the high winds and storm surge, forecasters are very concerned that Florence could be a slow-moving storm.

The hurricane's immensity is why some 10 million people across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under storm watches and warnings, with meteorologists projecting Florence could become the most powerful storm to hit this part of the United States in at least 25 years.

Matt Wain, chief operations officer at Medical University of South Carolina Health.

A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.

State Transportation Department Secretary Christy Hall said Thursday that an estimated 421,000 residents had left the coast. However, the surge is expected to be accompanied by large and destructive waves, regardless of when the storm arrives.

The wide storm weakened to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday and forecasters expect it to weaken further as it nears the shore. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday packing winds of more than 200 km per hour (124 mph) along with torrential rain, killing three people and causing floods, landslides and power outages.

Helene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Thursday.

He notes that forecasts for the weekend show a continued threat to southwest Virginia as the storm is expected to make a gradual northerly turn.

By hovering over the warm water in the Atlantic Ocean, the storm is being nourished.

Follow our live updates page for the latest on the storm. The NHC is encouraging officials in northeastern Mexico, Texas and Louisiana to monitor its progress.

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