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Hurricane Florence downgraded to Category 1 storm as it lashes North Carolina

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C.,Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is now lashing the North Carolina coast with hurricane -force winds and a life-threatening storm surge. It says the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm's heavy rains.

The Miami-based center said in an update at 11 p.m. EDT Thursday that the storm's eye was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Morehead, City, North Carolina. The core is also about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.


The storm is moving to the northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

Forecasters say the center of Florence is expected to move inland between Friday and Saturday.

Far out in the Atlantic, Joyce strengthened into a tropical storm on Thursday evening with top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The center says that storm is about 1,040 miles (1,670) kilometers west-southwest of the Azores and no coastal watches or warnings are in effect. Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene is forecast to pass near the Azores on Saturday, and Tropical Storm Isaac is moving west across the eastern Caribbean.

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This item has been corrected to show storm is moving to northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

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