Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely risky.
As North Carolina residents began to feel the first modest effects of a weakened Hurricane Florence on Thursday, forecasters warned the powerful storm will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours. While all simulations show the storm turning back to the north Sunday or Monday (local time), exactly where that turns occurs is a big wild card. "There is probably not a county or a person that will not be affected in some way by this very massive and violent storm".
As of 8 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles (355 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The child's injured father was taken to hospital. These categories are based only on the speed of sustained winds, not other deadly factors like storm surge, rainfall or flooding.
Wind: Expect winds to start increasing as early as Friday.
Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.
Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days. "My wife's in a panic right now".
Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene.
Row upon row of empty shelves are visible in CNN news footage, as residents threatened by mega-storm Hurricane Florence stockpile essentials including food, water and batteries.
"We don't anticipate closures at any East Coast hubs ..., which will limit cascading disruption to the rest of the nation's airport system", FlightAware spokeswoman Sara Orsi said in a statement. "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event".
When: While Florence's wind speeds have dropped to 105 miles per hour Thursday morning, it remains a massive and powerful storm.
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Tropical Storm Florence was downgraded from a risky Category 1 storm Friday, but millions have still been affected.
At 6 miles per hour, Florence is taking its time making it to shore, but it's already causing life-threatening storm surges and bringing hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina coast.
More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.
The rain posed a greater danger, forecasters warned, with some spots getting as much as 40 inches (1 m) of precipitation, enough to cause devastating flash floods miles from the coast. Evacuation orders are in place in the Carolinas and Virginia, and Georgia is in a state of emergency.
President Trump spoke with the senators of North Carolina and SC, telling them they have the full support of the federal government and the feds will be there to help with anything their states may need. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina Thursday night and Friday.
The term "storm surge" refers to rising seas that are whipped up by a storm.
Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world. Some 6,000 power outages had already been reported by 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
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