Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC

A satellite image showing Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean this week

Dealers are moving cars into service bays for refuge.

The country's No. 2 power company said Wednesday that it's anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses could lose power for lengthy periods, depending on the storm's track.

Almost one year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, killing more than 1,400 Americans and leaving the island largely powerless for months, President Donald Trump issued a message on Hurricane Florence: "We're ready". The losses won't be easily or quickly overcome.

Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, calculates that Florence will deduct about $200 million of output a day from North Carolina's $550 billion-a-year economy until business returns to something close to normal.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. But that will not lessen the threat from storm surge pushed by the storm, which could reach many miles inland up North Carolina's Neuse and Pamlico rivers, forecasters warned.

Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft along with satellite imagery and various intensity estimates indicate that Florence has weakened instead of strengthening".

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Mr Deal said. FEMA, for its part, admitted it fell short in its Maria response but said it's ready this time around.




A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast. The flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC might be "unprecedented", according to the agency.

At least 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia have been warned to evacuate, and others are hunkering down. The storm is a Category 4 right now but will likely grow and become more unpredictable as it nears the Carolina. The National Weather Center upgraded Subtropical Storm Joyce to Tropical Storm Joyce in its 11 p.m. Thursday update.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said.

A state of emergency has been declared in 5 states including North and SC, as well as the capital, Washington D.C. But rail cars with vehicles bound for Charleston and export markets overseas have been moved to secure areas until the storm passes.

A spokeswoman for Love's Travel Stops says demand for gasoline has doubled at numerous company's truck-stop locations in the path of Hurricane Florence.

"We'll probably move some of our bigger trucks in front of the building to try to stop some of the debris", said Terrell Small, the new-car sales manager. The area is under tropical storm and flash flood watches into the weekend.

Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land.

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