The potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence has downgraded to a Category 2 storm as it closes in on the Carolina coast. But it still poses a major threat.
NBC10 Boston meteorologist Chris Gloninger is in North Carolina providing live reports on the storm. A year ago, he covered the effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.
As families are rushing to flee their homes in wake of mandatory evacuations, the storm is traveling with wind speeds of 110 mph. Despite its weakened category, officials still warn that Hurricane Florence will deliver exceptionally heavy rain and remind residents that it may deliver life-threatening storm surges.
On Wednesday, Florence was reported as a Category 4, but officials are emphasizing that its new category is still dangerous. To compare, Hurricane Katrina downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a Category 3 before it made landfall.
The National Hurricane Center predicts Florence will hover off the southern North Carolina coast beginning Thursday night until it makes landfall on Saturday. As of Tuesday, approximately 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and South Carolina were issued warnings to evacuate. More than 5 million people live in areas under Florence’s warnings and watches.
Historic amounts of rain are expected to fall as a result of Florence. An expert at the North Carolina Emergency Management says storm surge alone is expected to floods tens of thousands of structures.