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More wet misery, soggy messes as Florence floodwaters rise
Affected Areas Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia Face ‘Monster’ Storm
15 September 2018, 12:17 | Edward Lowe
Beaufort County still not under mandatory evacuation despite changes to Florence forecast
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Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely risky and life-threatening storm.
"Forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs".
A line of heavy traffic moved away from the coast on Interstate 40, the main route between the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, and inland Raleigh.
The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.
Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.
His announcement came after a Monday press conference in which he ordered all coastal counties in the state to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence.
In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.
Where is Hurricane Florence right now?
Florence is rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.
Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
Oklahoma emergency management officials are prepared to respond to any requests and deploy resources as needed, White said.
Large surf at Atlantic Beach, NC as Hurricane Florence nears. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
But North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.
The result could be what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago - catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, fields and industrial sites.
"The big picture: There are several characteristics of the changing climate that are helping to increase the risks of damage from Hurricane Florence, even though global warming is not directly causing such a storm to spin up".
As of 11pm local time (4am BST), Florence was centred about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5mph.
And if that isn't enough, Subtropical Storm Joyce formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, but it's not expected to hit the U.S. The system is expected to drift to the southwest in the coming days.
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Everything you need to know about Hurricane Florence
USA carriers were also waiting to see what impact Florence could have on airports near Washington and in northern Virginia. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.
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