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Florence weakens to tropical storm

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Rescue personnel take a moment to pray after a large tree fell on a home killing a mother and her infant following Hurricane Florence coming ashore on Friday in Wilmington, N.C. A man was rescued. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

UPI


Florence weakened to a tropical storm early Friday evening as it slowly moved into South Carolina, delivering heavy rain, strong gusts and "catastrophic" flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center said.

The center of the storm made landfall around 7:15 a.m. near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., close to the South Carolina border. Forecasters said Florence made landfall with winds of 90 mph -- a Category 1 hurricane -- and slowed a bit in its movement as its outward winds lashed North and South Carolina.

In its 8 p.m. EDT advisory, the NHC said Florence was moving slowly inland over the north part of South Carolina. The eye of the storm was about 15 miles north-northeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 55 miles east-southeast of Florence, S.C. It was moving west at 3 mph and had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Experts said although wind speed has reduced over the past two days, the slow speed of the hurricane's travel indicates catastrophic flooding is the primary threat for the coast.

"Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down while it moves inland," the NHC said.

The NHC on Friday noted rain totals for several locations in the storm zone.

Oriental, N.C., has seen nearly 19 inches, Surf City 14 and WFO Morehead City 14 inches and Jacksonville 13 inches.

Earlier Friday, forecasters said water levels were 7 feet above normal and expected to rise.

A storm surge warning was in effect from Myrtle Beach, S.C., north to Salvo, N.C., and Pamlico Sound. A tropical storm warning was in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., north to Cape Hatteras, N.C., and Pamlico Sound.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Florence weakens to tropical storm
Florence weakens to tropical storm
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