Hurricane Florence starts battering US East Coast

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

Watch Hurricane Florence on live cameras as it lashes the Carolinas coast | The Herald Sun

Here are details from the latest update from the NOAA as of September 13 at 11 a.m.

On Saturday, about 855 flights had been canceled as of 7:15 p.m. ET.

The storm's centre was about 145 miles (235 km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as of Thursday night.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warn that Florence remains deadly because of its size and slow forward speed, even if its top sustained winds have dropped it to Category 2 status as a hurricane.

The latest forecast models for Hurricane Florence indicate it is now likely to dump rain on parts of NY and CT early next week.

Accuweather reported that its meteorologists "believe that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday".

Previously classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is so far the most severe storm to threaten the USA mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.

The storm's minimum central pressure is 955 MB or 28.20 inches.

Florence is now a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale, and has winds are at 105 miles per hour (165 kmh) according to the latest data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). "With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days".

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The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

In South Carolina and other parts of North Carolina, rain could be 6 to 12 inches, isolated up to 24 inches.

The centre issued a public advisory with a summary of watches and warnings in effect for several areas.

Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion".

At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency.

According to NHC: "A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours".

A new tool created by the NHC helps visualize how devastating the storm surge could be.

Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.

Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene. Hurricane Helene and Subtropical Storm Joyce were off in the Atlantic, posing no threat. The storm was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.

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