As Florence weakens, live surf cam videos show impact on Carolinas

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Why do people ignore hurricane warnings

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Why do people ignore hurricane warnings

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", the hurricane centre said.

FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result.

But, in a hopeful sign for travelers, some flights had resumed at South Carolina's Charleston International Airport.

The "threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days" in the impacted areas.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.

Tropical Storm Florence was downgraded from a unsafe Category 1 storm Friday, but millions have still been affected.

McMaster also said there may be water coming from rivers from North and SC, which could lead to flooding. It will then move along the "spine of the Appalachians".

The storm is not expected to change much in strength before making landfall, but states up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

But the most risky threat comes from Florence's rains and storm surge, which could bring flooding far inland. Some roads were already impassable in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 130 km (80 miles) from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 322 km (200 miles) out.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"We can not underestimate this storm. Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said.

The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia could see 6 to 12 inches, with some isolated areas seeing 15 inches. This is a life-threatening situation. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

"In a somewhat remarkable turn of events that few, if any, models predicted 48 hours ago, Florence is now expected to stall over, or very near to, the Carolina coastline". Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

An estimated 10 million people live in the storm's path, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation.

The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, on Thursday.

Serious flooding was also reported in SC, and several coastal communities were placed under nighttime curfews during the storm. The storm was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.

The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9-13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.

The full impact of the storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

As of 11am local time, Florence was centred about 145 miles south east of Wilmington and its forward movement slowed to 10mph.

National public service Ready has said it is best to prepare for a hurricane by listening to authorities.

Tropical Storm Isaac is also moving westward across the eastern Caribbean. Only one storm scared them enough to leave the island.

Steering currents - around clear-weather high-pressure systems and stormy low-pressure systems - redirect hurricanes, with the clear-weather systems acting as walls that storms have to go around. Weakening is expected after the center moves inland.

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