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14 September 2018, 10:24 | Edward Lowe
Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be.
Recent forecasts show the likely path of the hurricane and surrounding storm to head southwards after smacking into North Carolina and SC.
Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the US coast late Thursday and Friday. Elsewhere, in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states, Florence is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain.
Florence was downgraded Wednesday to a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.
At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), reports from An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 30.4 North, longitude 71.8 West. Florence is moving toward the northwest near 16 miles per hour (26 km/h) and this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to through Saturday.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Carolina Braces for Florence Storm Surge
As Hurricane Florence bears down on the North and SC coasts, some residents are ignoring officials' calls to evacuate. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.
"Disaster is at the doorstep and it's coming in."
"The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen", he warned residents.
Hurricane Florence starts its prolonged assault on the Carolinas
Many people in coastal communities have followed the mandatory evacuation orders, but some are vowing to stay put and ride it out. National Guard soldiers from the state, North Carolina and Virginia are mobilizing to prepare for hurricane recovery efforts.
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