Florence downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane

Florence downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane

Florence downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane

Hurricane Florence's winds began whipping coastal North Carolina on Thursday as the slow-moving tempest began to unleash fierce rains that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the United States southeast. Tropical storm-force winds are forecast to hit the Carolinas Thursday evening, according to Business Insider.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia have declared states of emergency over the storm.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

While Florence's winds won't be as intense as first feared, the storm could dump as much as 3 feet of rain and generate storm surges as high as 13 feet in coastal areas, the weather service said.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate and authorities urged them to get going before the streets become inundated.

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Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina , Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The father sustained injuries and was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington for medical care.

FlightAware expects the number of cancellations to rise, although "the limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", spokeswoman Sara Orsi said in a statement. The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says. "I hope we don't but that might be the only thing that would affect us", James said.

"You put your life at risk by staying", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

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Model data shows Florence being a very patient storm.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the briefing said. "Residents in the path of these devastating storms should comply with all evacuation orders and other emergency instructions". Already hundreds of people have been evacuated from the area, while others are warned to take cover and prepare for the worst.

With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

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