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

Watch Hurricane Florence on live cameras as it lashes the Carolinas coast | The Herald Sun

Watch Hurricane Florence on live cameras as it lashes the Carolinas coast | The Herald Sun

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Thursday, September 13, 2018. According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday.

The hurricane, whose strength has been compared to a direct hit by Mike Tyson, advances with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and the likelihood of it lingering around the coast for days - would bring seawater surging on to land and torrential downpours.

However, a Cat 2 storm's wind speed is "extremely risky", according to the National Hurricane Center, capable of ripping trees from the ground, wreaking major roof damage on homes and causing power outages that may last weeks and affect three million households.

"When you are looking at a storm surge of this magnitude, where the National Weather Service says that the damage is going to be unbelievable and that they can not emphasize that enough, we know that that is a message that we should listen to", said Cooper. Its forward movement slowed to 12 miles per hour (19 kph) and top sustained winds stayed at 110 miles per hour (175 kph).

The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday.

The mayor of Myrtle Beach says her city has done as much as it can to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

But the mayor says she knows many people are ignoring evacuation orders.

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It is expected to bring massive amounts of rain, devastating flooding gale-force winds that could knock out power for weeks. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the center.

Airlines cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting. The New York Times reported that Duke Energy, the Carolinas' major power supplier, said as many as 3 million people could lose power.

"This is a horrific nightmare storm from a meteorological perspective", University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd said.

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. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave. "But they come and they go in a matter of minutes".

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that was later downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a Wilmington hotel several miles inland.

Jenni Koontz, a photographer who shot the clip, wrote on Instagram at 12 p.m. Sept 13 that "the guy in the front end loader told me there is a hole in the road somewhere between the pier and Hatteras so I turned around".

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