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Hurricane Florence from space
15 September 2018, 05:55 | Dale Webster
Beaufort County still not under mandatory evacuation despite changes to Florence forecast
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Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as one metre of rain, to Virginia.
The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports in Wilmington and Morehead City in North Carolina and Hampton Roads, Virginia, to inbound vessels greater than 500 tons and was requiring vessels of that size to leave if they did not have permission to be in the ports. The child's father was injured and taken to a hospital.
North Carolina governor Roy Cooper urged residents to remain alert despite changing forecasts.
Two people died in Lenoir County.
A search-and-rescue team is being deployed by FEMA from Montgomery County in Maryland to help in SC as the area braces for Hurricane Florence.
Florence's winds have dropped from a peak of 140mph to 105mph, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2.
Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.
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.
"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.
The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.
Maysie Baumgardner, 7, sheltered with her family at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence's floodwaters filled the streets.
"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the hurricane center says.
Cooper said Florence was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water.
"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach police chief Dan House said.
Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).
It said the hurricane was about 520 miles (820km) southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Wednesday.
Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be rescued from floods.
Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.
"It's a big one", he said. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia. "It's insane", he said by telephone.
By early afternoon, utilities reported about 12,000 homes and businesses had lost power.
Florence weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale but had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour) as of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), down from 130 mph earlier in the day.
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The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information. ET, Florence was centred about 135 kilometres east-southeast of Wilmington , its forward movement slowed to seven km/h.
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