Hurricane Florence Weakened to Category 2 Moves Closer to Shore

Even though the hurricane is now a category 2 hurricane, residents of certain east coast US states are being advised to evacuate and be extremely cautious during the storm.
Shelby Rogers

In the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 event. However, that doesn't make the natural disaster any less terrifying for residents of states on the eastern coast.

The National Hurricane Center still expects the hurricane to cause "life threatening, catastrophic flash flooding" whenever it makes landfall. 

At the time of this writing, Florence is moving toward the eastern US at 15 mph (24 km/h) with a decrease in forward speed. However, the center of Florence could hit as early as Thursday night rather than Friday morning, according to the latest NOAA estimates at the time of this writing. 


"Florence is a large hurricane," the 5 a.m. update on September 13 noted. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (815 km). A NOAA buoy located about 80 miles (130 km) south of the center of Florence has recently reported sustained winds of 52 km (83 km/h) with a gust to 64 mph (104 km/h)."

For anyone hoping that Hurricane Florence will be the only major hurricane of the season, residents of the east coast won't be so lucky. There are currently two more tropical storms in the Atlantic -- Joyce and Isaac -- and a category 1 hurricane named Helen.

ESRI created a tracker to estimate just how many people would be affected by the storm's path given key demographic data from the area inside the error cone. 

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"The Cone of Uncertainty...represents the probable track of the center of a tropical cyclone, and is formed by enclosing the area swept out by a set of circles along the forecast track (at 12, 24, 36 hours, etc)," the ESRI team explained. "It is important to note that the area affected by a tropical cyclone can extend well beyond the confines of the cone enclosing the most likely track area of the center.”

Laughing in the face of danger

A considerable portion of east coast residents are preparing for or evacuating from the category 2 hurricane to make landfall. But even in the face of that danger, the internet is still managing to find a bit of humor. 

When put in a position of danger, a lot of people are still finding comfort in just laughing it off. 

There are plenty of memes about the situation as well. One of the most frequent to appear are "PIVOT" memes from the sitcom Friends.

There are also parody Facebook groups jokingly encouraging people to stand outside their houses at designated times and yell things to get the hurricane to stop.