Florence weakens but could linger for longer

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The center of Florence will move across extreme southeastern North Carolina Friday evening and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday night and Saturday, the NHC said.

"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft along with satellite imagery and various intensity estimates indicate that Florence has weakened instead of strengthening". "We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue".

As of 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph.

With flood waters rising rapidly in many communities, people trapped in homes awaited rescue, while tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached. That same area experienced unsafe flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. And up to 3 million energy customers in North and South Caroline could lose power for weeks.

Al Brookins poses with his shirt that lists some of the previoius hurricanes he has lived through before the arrival of Hurricane Florence September 12, 2018 in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. That doesn't include numbers from dozens of city-operated electricity providers. Professor at Tulane University in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7.15 am, the National Hurricane Centre said.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Seven-day rainfall totals are forecast to reach 10 to 20 inches over portions of North Carolina. The more it stalls, the more it rains.

"It's a very unsafe storm", Federal Emergency Management Authority administrator Jeff Byard said.

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Florence's winds in the afternoon were down slightly to 125 miles per hour, from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3.

Airlines had cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington.

The town's public information officer Colleen Roberts told CNN that 150 more people were awaiting rescue, and that citizens were going out in their boats to help, despite swift currents. Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

A state of emergency has been declared in 5 states including North and SC, as well as the capital, Washington D.C. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled. "So yeah, not safe", Ochoa said. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.

Despite the potentially devastating hurricane being downgraded to category two on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the governor of Georgia has joined his counterparts in Virginia and the Carolinas in declaring a state of emergency.

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