Hurricane Florence weakens, but still a strong flood threat

Last gloomy day but rain chances will linger. Plus the latest on Florence and the Gulf

The National Hurricane Center projects Florence's landfall near the North Carolina-South Carolina border on Saturday morning; however, the storm will be spinning just offshore - stalled out - east of Wilmington, NC for about 36-48 hours before that.

Alice Drive Middle School received an email from Jeff Goldstein, who is the director of the Student Space Flight program, that included photos of Hurricane Florence taken from astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that storm surge watches and warnings are in effect Wednesday for the entire North Carolina coast and parts of SC.

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

The storm is moving steadily toward the Carolinas' coastal areas.

Although Florence was downgraded from Category 4 status, it is still considered an extremely risky storm with maximum sustained winds near 125 miles per hour.

The precipitation from Florence will start midday Thursday and then it will rain for four days, said CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater.More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall.

Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in the state ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which dipped down in trajectory earlier this week.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

In nearby downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, which is usually packed with people this time of year, it's a ghost town. "It's going to happen. It's a big one", he said at the White House. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

"We're a good community up there".

The East Carolina football team has sought safety from Hurricane Florence by temporarily relocating to Orlando, Florida.

Sib McLellan, left, and his wife, Lisa, prepare for Hurricane Florence.

The cone of probability for Hurricane Florence as of 11:00 p.m. EDT, Sept. 12, 2018. When Hurricane Floyd made landfall near Cape Fear in 1999 as a Category 2 storm, bloated carcasses of hundreds of thousands of hogs, chickens and other drowned livestock bobbed in a nose-stinging soup of fecal matter, pesticides, fertilizer and gasoline so toxic that fish flopped helplessly to escape it. "People are taking down awnings and U-Haul trucks have come in and take the entire contents of stores".

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