Hurricane Florence starts flooding parts of the Carolinas

Myrtle Beach

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week.

"It's getting late to evacuate", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. "If you're in a low-lying area, get out", Mac Hodges, the mayor of the town of Washington, told NPR's Brakkton Booker.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Serious flooding was also reported in SC, and several coastal communities were placed under nighttime curfews during the storm.

Once a powerful Category 4 storm, Florence became a slow-moving Category 1 before it made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina, on Friday.

Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 225kmh to 175kmh as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early on Thursday.

Myrtle Beach was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

"I said, 'Why get on the road like this?"

United States television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach.

The Washington Post also reported the current forecast for the hurricane as of 5 a.m. September 13 is as follows: Florence's top winds are now at 110 mph, and it is barreling northwest at 15 mph, about 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and 250 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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Brunswick plant onsite NRC Inspector Galen Smith, had no worries that the Brunswick plant would survive the storm easily. They also have prepared their backup diesel generators to make sure the plants have enough fuel to keep producing power.

Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore early on Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

A hurricane watch and storm surge watch are in effect for Edisto Beach in SC to South Santee River in SC. Flash floods will be a major problem for some areas, and the overall flooding could be catastrophic.

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with, warns that up to 10 trillion gallons of rain could fall on North Carolina from Florence.

He urged people in the coastal Carolinas and living near inland rivers to evacuate.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 50 miles per hour.

However, the hurricane's effect on the nationwide air-travel system will be less than feared if, as now forecast, Florence veers away from the American Airlines hub airport in Charlotte, and doesn't score a direct hit on Delta Air Lines' massive hub in Atlanta.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million more live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs.

For some residents, evacuation plans were hampered by gasoline shortages. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages. "The infrastructure is going to break, the power is going to go out".

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, reacting to that possibility of a more southerly track, declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations. "I'm not leaving him here".

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