Storm now a Category 2, still unsafe

NASA also shared a video of the Category 4 storm from the International Space Station.

This photo equipped by NASA presentations Hurricane Florence from the International Condominium Contrivance on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, because it threatens the U.S. East Run.

The latest tracks for Category 4 storm Florence, released early Wednesday morning, now have the storm staying farther south, following the European model.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter warned of the storm's dangers and praised his administration's handling of past hurricanes, rejecting criticism for its response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Florence is expected to start hitting the coasts of North and SC on Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds dropped slightly Wednesday afternoon to 125 miles per hour with higher gusts, falling back from its Category 4 to a Category 3, but Florence remained on track to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the US coast.

"So right now, we're thinking it's going to be tropical-storm-force conditions for the Beaufort area, but I would not rule out the potential for hurricane force winds or hurricane force conditions for Beaufort County".

More than one million people were ordered to evacuate as the hurricane crept closer to Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across SC.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company write the most commercial property insurance coverage in North and SC, according to a report on Wednesday by Moody's, citing data from SNL Financial.

The threat of storm surges loom for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours.

A number of other businesses, including Sam's Club, Lowe's, and a range of local retailers across North Carolina and SC, were shut down or were planning to shut down ahead of the storm.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall late Thursday night or sometime Friday.

"Stocks tend to fall in front of a storm because of uncertainty", said Sandler O'Neill analyst Paul Newsome.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

Strong winds, storm surge, and flash flooding are major concerns for Florence and rains in excess of 20 inches can be expected in the Cape Fear region.

She added: "The problem is, I can't tell you the exact pin point of landfall and it could be a long duration event".

  • Carolyn Briggs