\'Extremely Dangerous\' Hurricane Florence Closing In on Southeast Coast

 Alexa Lardieri
  13th-Sep-2018

HURRICANE FLORENCE IS set to make landfall over North Carolina on Thursday bringing winds stronger than 120 mph, enough rain to cause devastating flooding and forcing more than 1 million evacuations.

The hurricane was downgraded on Wednesday from a catastrophic Category 4 with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph to a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Despite its weakened state, the storm is still "forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane" as it makes landfall on the U.S. eastern coast and it may bring "life-threatening" storm surges. The hurricane center also warned that the strength of the storm could fluctuate through late Thursday.

Florence could bring 20 to 30 inches of rainfall to coastal North Carolina, with as much as 40 inches in isolated areas, producing "catastrophic flooding." Places in South Carolina can expect up to 20 inches. Mid-Atlantic states can expect anywhere from 3 to 12 inches.

According to the hurricane center, tropical storm-force winds are expected to reach the East Coast by Thursday, developing into stronger hurricane conditions by Friday.

In preparation for the hurricane, states of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. An emergency declaration was also issued in Georgia on Wednesday as the hurricane center forecast model showed the storm possibly hitting the state over the weekend.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Florence was 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 470 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate in the Carolinas and Virginia, according to CNN.

The storm is so large, 150 miles wide, that tropical storm conditions could extend to up to 175 miles from its center.

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