Hurricane Florence weakens - but still dangerous

S Coastal cities brace for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane-force winds (74-95 mph) are now extending out up to 70 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds are being felt as much as 175 miles around the storm.

Hurricane warnings continue in parts of eastern North Carolina and northern coastal SC.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in place from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina.

The storm is expected to be just offshore by Friday and is now a Category 3 storm with 125mph top sustained winds.

The National Weather Service is warning residents of the South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia coastlines that life-threatening storm surge is "highly likely", with water levels predicted to reach 9-13 feet in some areas.

NASA NASA / Reuters A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station, September 12, 2018.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.

In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.

Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, calculates that Florence will deduct about $200 million of output a day from North Carolina's $550 billion-a-year economy until business returns to something close to normal.

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Being dubbed the "Storm of a Lifetime," the Category-3 hurricane led to a declaration announcement of all Georgia's 159 counties, CNN reports.

Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington states have all already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm. He said all the calls for reservations were coming from either SC and North Carolina where the damage is supposed to be the worst. Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit".

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.

Coastal North Carolina may receive up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.

Manure lagoons are about as pleasant as they sound-vast open-air ponds of manure located next to the many hog farms near the North Carolina coast.

It's a detail that almost got lost among all the wind, rain and storm surge data sent out by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday. "It's going to happen". "We've just never seen anything like this".

He said Jacksonville could experience tropical storm conditions Saturday morning into Saturday evening if the storm turns south, but he said mainly people in Georgia between Brunswick and Savannah should be concerned about that.

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