Hurricane Florence downgrades to a Category 1 but still risky

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"While we can't attribute this hurricane exclusively to climate change, we do expect these types of intense hurricanes to happen more often as the world warms".

As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, a Category 2 storm with 100 miles per hour sustained winds as of Thursday evening, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.

Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the coast of the Carolinas as a powerful Category 2 hurricane.

Most of those cancellations are tied to the approaching hurricane, now a Category 2 storm with winds expected onshore late Thursday at more than 80 miles per hour.

Here is the newest information on Hurricane Florence as it lands on the East Coast.

It was located about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 145 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

With the storm already making an impact on the coastline, these are the most commonly asked questions, answered by the NBC Charlotte First Warn Storm Team.

"The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday, " the hurricane center said. Then, it will likely hover along the coast on Saturday (Sunday NZT), pushing up to 4m of storm surge and dumping 50 to 75cm of rain on both states, before slogging over the Appalachian Mountains.

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, farm fields and industrial sites.

The non-emergency call center for Hurricane Florence is 919-996-2999.

The expected high winds and slow movement of the hurricane as it comes ashore are likely to make rescue efforts in flooded areas challenging, senior US Defence Department officials say.

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it", said Mr Trump.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said.

Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit, or prepare for the worst. Airlines had cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga.

With Duke Energy expecting up to 3 million power outages for its 4 million customers, power companies will need an extra hand.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. Meanwhile inland regions of the Palmetto State, North Carolina and Virginia are expected to see 6-12 inches of rain, with up to two feet falling in isolated areas.

The storm's winds may have weakened in recent days - they are now at 110mph (175km/h) - but there are fears Florence's slow-moving nature could bring different problems.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.

Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia. As of 5 a.m., its maximum wind speeds remain at 110 miles per hour as it started to ingest drier air, says FOX 13's meteorologist Tyler Eliasen, however, it also means Florence's wind field has grown larger.

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