Track shifts could change Florence’s impact on Midlands, but storm warning remains

Don't play games with it, says Trump as Hurricane Florence heads for US East Coast

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina Friday morning, bringing howling winds up to 90 miles per hour, reports The Associated Press. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm at 4:45 p.m. but still remains risky.

A new 5-minute video from the space station shows Florence coming ashore in the USA for the first time.

The National Hurricane Center says the high winds - combined with rain-soaked soil - will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines.

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) but authorities warned the danger was far from over, predicting that "life-threatening storm surges and strong winds" would persist through the night.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold also captured Florence making landfall from his spot on the orbiting outpost.

At times, Florence was moving forward no faster than a human can walk, and it has remained such a wide storm that its counter-clockwise winds keep scooping up massive amounts of moisture from the sea.

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday, but it continues to be a threat to the Midlands.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving west at 2 mph (3.2 kph), with its center located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

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As of 5 p.m. Friday, forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher. "Into next week our rivers are going to continue to rise and there will be more significant flooding", Cooper said.

Power outages are widespread, affecting over 740,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC. Wind gusts of 105 miles per hour - the highest recorded since 1958 - were reported in Wilmington Friday morning.

The airport was almost empty Friday morning, as thousands of passengers had already changed their flight schedules.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

As of now, American is still running its full schedule - except for flights to the cities near the storm, like New Bern and Wilmington, says American spokesperson Crystal Byrd.

The most affected areas are in North Carolina, particularly the counties of Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Johnston, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Sampson, Wake, and Wayne. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".

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