Florence weakens to Category 1 hurricane: NHC

This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018.
NASA via AP

Tens of thousands were without power. Heavy rainfall began after dark.

"It's just going to be an interesting ride", Needham said.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster did not mince words Thursday, delivering a dire message to coastal residents who have chosen to remain in their homes despite repeated warnings to leave as Hurricane Florence moved toward the state. While some folks have made the wild decision to stay put, The Weather Channel's confronting vid might just convince folks to hoof it out of there before things get worse. "Certainly if you do have to go out, don't drive through any water".

More than 10 feet of storm surge is expected to hit some areas in North Carolina and SC, triggered by Florence.

In New Bern, at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000. York County crews have been trimming trees in an effort to reduce the number of limbs that could fall on power lines during the storm. Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas.

More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. Another 8 million people live in areas covered by hurricane and tropical storm warnings.

"For our customers, I know they normally expect to see us immediately after the storm rolls through, but it's not safe for us to be out there working", he said.

The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington. Some of the few people still left in Nags Head on the Outer Banks took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse. "Because it's Mother Nature". That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than a million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways. Along the coast, fewer homes have flood insurance than five years ago.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.

"I end up hearing more negative stories about leaving than staying", Mrs. Mramer said.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.

An estimated 3 million people across the Carolinas could be without power before long, and the lights may be out for weeks in some areas, said the region's largest provider, Duke Energy. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

Joyce, which is about 1,040 miles from the Azores, is moving south-southwest near 7 mph.

But the storm still carried "very risky winds", the Center added.

In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the USA east coast as seen from the International Space Station.

Is global warming to blame?

But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon.

Why isn't the downgraded storm less of a threat?

"If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

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