"Just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down. The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed. It has remained the same. Here's why: as the system is encroaching on the coast, the wind field is expanding. So what you're going to start seeing in a matter of hours, and then in the next coming hours, is these wind bands that far precede the center of circulation are going to start pushing water up against the coast. But more importantly up the Back Bay and inland areas."
"This is a very dangerous storm. Storm surge is why you have been placed under, many of you have been placed under evacuation. We're asking citizens to please heed a warning. Your time is running out. The ocean is going to start rising along the coast and in the Back Bay in inland areas, in the sound areas within a matter of hours. Your time to get out of those areas and storm surge in innovation is coming to a close. I cannot emphasize that enough."
"You know, the forecasters are basically indicating feet of rain, not inches and in portions of the Carolinas and into Virginia. So this is a very dangerous storm. Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see. So please keep that in mind."
"Let me set the expectations. This is a very dangerous storm. We call call them disasters because they break things. The infrastructure is going to break. The power is going to go out. It could go out for a number of days, it could go out for many weeks. It's hard to say at this point. So, not only that but many of you who have evacuated from the Carolina coast lines are going to be displaced for a while, particularly where the areas received the high amounts of storm surge. So you know, we need people to get their mindsets right. That disasters are very frustrating and it takes time to get the infrastructure back up and running but we are going to do everything that we can to push forward as quickly as we can to get things back up and working along with our state partners in the private sector who owns a large portion of the critical infrastructure that's going to be impacted."
Federal emergency officials at a Washington briefing are urging people to treat Hurricane Florence seriously even though its top sustained winds are down to 110 mph (177 kph), which makes it a Category 2 storm.
They say it remains very large and very dangerous, bringing more than 30 inches of rain to the coast and heavy winds that will impact a giant swath of land.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says storm surge warnings have not changed despite the weakening intensity on the wind scale.
He urged people in the coastal Carolinas and living near inland rivers to evacuate now.
"Please heed the warnings," Long says: "Your time is running out."
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