Hurricane Florence weakened into a Category 2 hurricane as it moved towards east coast of the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, but a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall were still expected.
A family enjoys the surf ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Oak Island, North Carolina.
After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 225km/h earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few kilometers east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.
The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday.
As Florence closed in, President Donald Trump and state and local officials urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate before it was too late. The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia.5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches.
The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses. Tropical storm watches extend as far north as Norfolk, Virginia.
"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added.
Almost 9,00,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas early on Friday, utility officials said.
WILMINGTON (North Carolina) • Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas yesterday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with flood waters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.
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Forecasters say the biggest danger is the water as the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of one to three-and-a-half feet of rain over the coming days could trigger catastrophic flooding inland. With the storm churning 140 miles per hour winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast, many of whom have been advised to evacuate.
Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.
The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles. "There's nobody left to work. I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said. "The building's solid and Buddha will protect us".
In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children. "I want to get them as far away as possible".
"I see the beach communities being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic in nature". "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".
USA TODAYA watch of Hurricane Florence from the Global Attach Space.(Characterize: Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA) With Hurricane Florence churning toward the East Stagger, NASA released a flawless video and photos of the storm from condo.A excessive-definition digital camera outdoors the Global Attach Space captured video Tuesday."Ever stared down the gaping sight of a category Four storm?"
That's about 220 miles from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. September 14, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
Some residents ignored calls to evacuate.