Slowing, but still dangerous ...
The National Hurricane Center said Thursday that windspeeds associated with Hurricane Florence, which continues to target the Carolinas, have dissipated to a category 2 storm, but is continuing to warn of "life threatening" surges as its nears the Atlantic coast.
The NHC said Florence is currently located 250 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but noted that rain bands from the storm will likely reach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today. It also noted that windspeeds have slowed to a maximum of 110 miles per hour, but still cautioned that storm surges linked to it could have a deadly impact when it makes landfall on Friday.
"A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline," the NHC said in its latest update at 5 am eastern time. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."
"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland," the NHC said.
Florence was set to be the first category 4 event to hit the mid-Atlantic area since Hurricane Hazel in 1954, with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper calling it a "monster" that will bring "days and days of rain" as governors in three coastal states ordered the mandatory evacuation of around one million residents. A further 10 million people are either under hurricane watch or warning as of Thursday.
"The waves and wind in this storm may be like nothing you have ever seen," Cooper warned. "Even if you?ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don't bet your life on riding out this monster."
Maximum winds from #Florence have decreased, but don't let that fool you. This "weakening" only refers to maximum winds. The wind field has expanded and rainfall/storm surge potential are still at catastrophic levels.https://t.co/meemB5uHAR pic.twitter.com/IRiuxeVeUf— NWS (@NWS) September 13, 2018