Florence taking a devastating toll, rescues underway

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Hurricane Florence again decreased in speed late Thursday and was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but the storm has already wreaked havoc and meteorologists warn that it will do considerable damage.

According to CNN, the hurricane hit the east coast of the U.S. with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.

The storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m. Friday, producing wind gusts of up to 95 to 105 miles per hour in some coastal cities, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters warn of "life -threatening, catastrophic flash flooding".

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958, the weather service said. "Now it's just taking the brunt of the storm".

According to the Weather Channel, almost 300,000 people are already without power across the state.

The fresh water flooding will also be a major issue as the storm moves inland.

Ken Graham, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said: "It truly is really about the whole size of this storm".

"Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Those opting to stay have been told power outages could last week.

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Hurricane Florence is a real, ongoing threat.

The bulk of the three media briefings held by police chief Dan House surrounded how they were still anticipating the serious and catastrophic storm surge as well as hurricane force winds.

Back in 2012, a new law in North Carolina caused Stephen Colbert to do a double-take: "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal", he said at the time. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

Airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and some airports in the Carolinas virtually shut down.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. Some are pet-friendly, and others are not. "This may be worse than what we've seen before", Assistant Fire Chief Joey Roberts said during a press conference Wednesday.

"Because of the slow movement of the storm, the rain is going to have plenty of time keep piling up", said Feltgen. "A hurricane is like a forced vacation that you might not be able to afford".

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina. Florence is projected to reach land Friday near the plant located about five miles from the Atlantic Ocean near Southport. "Someone is driving up a horse".

Roughly 1 million people are under evacuation orders.

It will likely come on shore Friday near Wilmington, North Carolina. Eight churches and several restaurants are supplying free meals for evacuees until at least Tuesday night.

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