Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 2 storm, closing in on US

Jan Cross
September 13, 2018

"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you", Gerst said.

The center of Florence, a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane, is expected to draw close to the North Carolina coast on Friday afternoon - perhaps lingering just offshore - then drift southwest along the shoreline before turning inland on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Due to the storm's enormous size and power, it's been a recent - if not frightening - muse for astronaut photography.

A nurse helps a resident Wednesday at the Trinity Grove nursing facility in Wilmington, N.C., where residents and employees planned to hunker down for Hurricane Florence.

"We are taking this completely seriously", said Ted W. Goins Jr., president of Lutheran Services Carolinas, whose seven facilities are staying open during the hurricane.

Hurricane Florence is weakening slightly as it continues toward the Carolina coastal areas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, adding that life-threatening storm surge and rainfall were still expected.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

"Don't play games with it".

But despite the potentially devastating hurricane, forecast to make landfall on Friday with 130mph winds, people tried to offer some "relief" in the silence before the storm.

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States Prepare for ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ as Hurricane Florence Looms
As it nears the coast, the storm's forward motion will slow to a crawl, but the winds and rain will continue full-strength. A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina , Virginia and Washington.

Large and risky, Hurricane Florence is drawing closer to the coast of the Carolinas, where it threatens to become the most intense storm to strike the region in at least 25 years, since Hugo.

While Florence was slightly reduced in strength earlier from 140 miles per hour winds, meteorologists expect the hurricane to jump back to a Category 4 by Thursday morning.

Officials in the Carolinas strongly urged millions of people in those states' coastal regions to evacuate, but medical facilities in the evacuation zones face a hard set of decisions when ordered to leave.

Another view from astronaut Alexander Gerst of the eye of Hurricane Florence, posted to Twitter on September 12, 2018. I believe that was a Category 1 storm when it hit Charlotte.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.

Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington states have all already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.

No storm watches or warnings are in effect for Georgia.

Although its peak winds diminished, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded.

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