'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

Hurricane Florence decreases to a Category 3, could still bring ‘life-threatening’ storm surge to

The centre of Florence, a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strike North Carolina late Thursday or early Friday and could drift southwest along the coast before turning inland, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 120 miles per hour (193 km per hour), down from a peak of 140 mph a day earlier before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4.

"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 Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

"Be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas", Mr Deal said in a statement.

A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

Another commenter said: 'That hurricane better be taking me to dinner first'.

It is predicted to stall even more off the coast of the Carolinas before scraping down the U.S. east coast and moving inland before the weekend.

"This will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country".

"Hugo was a direct hit", he said.

"Everything is packed", Espinoza said.

William Manley, a spokesman for the Florida National Guard, said the National Guard will not deploy units to assist with natural disasters unless the affected states - the Carolinas in this case - request help.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

More than 1 million have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The storm is set to bring heavy rains and damaging winds, particularly in areas along the Atlantic coast, and will be the most intense during the overnight hours of September 14.

But despite the potentially devastating hurricane, forecast to make landfall on Friday with 130mph winds, people tried to offer some "relief" in the silence before the storm.

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