Tracking Hurricane Florence as storm lands in North Carolina

A pier in Surf City N.C. as of Thursday Sep. 13

Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph) as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early Thursday, reducing the storm from Category 4 to Category 2, but forecasters warned that the enormous wind field has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land.

"The forecast shows a storm surge higher than many homes", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said.

Donald Trump has bragged his handling of the preparations for Hurricane Florence is getting "tremendous accolades" - even though the storm has not hit yet.

On Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than SC and North Carolina combined".

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North Carolina will see up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period, National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing. We are on the bad side of this storm. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water".

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph).

Florence is moving northwest at about 10 miles per hour.

While the Piedmont Triad does not now face a direct hit, we are still expected to face significant rain. That would actually be Florence's storm surge, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. The warning also includes Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, large bodies of water in North Carolina that could also see significant flooding. Places that are best prepared to cope with natural disasters are ones where people think about the needs of themselves and their neighbors, he said.

"Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials..."

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"Do not focus on the wind speed category of #Hurricane #Florence!" the National Hurricane Center said Thursday morning.

But the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas.

"Other sources are predicting a financial toll for Florence of up to $170 billion, and we think that is extreme when looking at Florence's track and impacts to people and their lives", Myers said. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports.

Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not unsafe, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia.

Once the rain hits the coast, it will accumulate very quickly, causing some flash flooding and eventually likely overwhelming streams and rivers in the areas that get the most. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia.

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It remained a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour , but stronger gusts have been reported. Hurricane Florence has claimed the lives of four people in North Carolina, and left hundreds of thousands without power.


-Size: Hurricane-force winds extend up to 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

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