Hurricane Florence downgraded to Category 2 storm, but still deemed 'extremely dangerous' as it nears landfall
The potentially disastrous storm is currently moving northeast at nearly 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, according to reports.
The monster storm, Hurricane Florence, has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm as it approached North and South Carolina. The National Hurricane Center (NHC), however, has said that the hurricane is still forecast to be an "extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the US coast late Thursday and Friday."
Reports state that storm surges as high as 9 feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas are predicted if conditions fall into place.
The NHC on Thursday morning said that Hurricane Florence was centered nearly 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The storm is currently moving northeast at nearly 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, according to reports.
Based on the latest 11 a.m. forecast for the southward track of Hurricane Florence after making landfall and acting on a recommendation from @GeorgiaEMA officials, I have issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in Georgia. Read more here: https://t.co/FmO4iELdYq— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) September 12, 2018
The coastal North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina are forecast to receive about 20 to 30 inches of rainfall, with 40 inches of rainfall in isolated areas.
The center warned: "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding."
Hundreds of flights and train schedules have been cancelled ahead of the impending storm as the Carolinas largest airpot, the Charleston International Airport on Wednesday tweeted that it will be shutting its runways on Wednesday night and will open latest on Saturday.
AIRPORT CLOSURE: Due to Hurricane Florence, Charleston International Airport (CHS) is closing Wed. Sept. 12 at midnight and will remain closed until further notice. Continue to monitor NOTAMs and our website for updates. https://t.co/cxYAvnSrPM #AtlanticCHS #AtlanticAviation pic.twitter.com/TlGpsqUjgL— Atlantic Aviation (@AtlanticFBO) September 12, 2018
The Center said that they are considering Florence as a "large hurricane" with its force winds extending outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday. A slow motion over eastern South Carolina is forecast Friday night through Saturday night," the NHC said.
Florence's track has reportedly shifted somewhat south and west, throwing Georgia in danger as it scrambles to take emergency measures to avoid heavy damage.
The National Weather Service said that over 10 million residents from North and South Carolina and Virginia are under a storm watch, while 5.25 million people are under hurricane warnings and watches. The NWS added that an additional 4.89 million people are under tripical storm watches and warnings ahead of Hurricane Florence's approach.