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The sun over a round, blue earth covered in part by an enormous circular cloud formation
Information icon Hurricane Florence from space on September 14, 2018. Photo by Ricky Arnold, NASA.

Storm weakens, wanders

Hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina Friday morning, weakening as it struck near Wilmington. But, even with its winds subsiding, the storm remained a threat to coastal areas in at least two states.

Florence, once a Category 4 hurricane, is now Category 1, said Kevin Scasny, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) meteorologist. Though its winds, he said this morning, occasionally gusted to 90 mph.

Even so, Scasny said in a telephone call with Service officials in Atlanta, the storm is a significant hazard — and will remain so for several days. It’s dumping astonishing amounts of water across the coasts of North and South Carolina.

By mid-day Friday, it was barely moving, crawling at 3 mph. That means Florence will be a “prolonged event” as it wends southward along the coast, he said. He estimated that 15 to 20 more inches of rain are likely to fall on top of the 20-plus inches that have already fallen.

In all, Scasny said, “you’re talking about three to four feet of rain.”

The Service, which has three crews on standby to respond after the hurricane, has closed National Wildlife Refuges, hatcheries and offices from across coastal North and South Carolina. Forecasters anticipate the storm on Sunday will head west into upland South Carolina. They estimate that the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee may get 6 to 8 inches of precipitation.

Meantime, all that rain will roll into streams and rivers. Mountain mudslides are likely. And the big coastal rivers in the east will only get bigger as the waters rise and crest this weekend and early next week. Homes, businesses and people are in their path.


Mark Davis, Public Affairs Specialist, (404) 679-7291

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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