This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 12:15:31 UTC on September 10, 2018, shows Hurricane Florence off the US east coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Lizabeth MENZIES / NOAA/RAMMB / AFP
US forecasters late Thursday downgraded Hurricane Florence to a Category 1 storm, as its outer edge lashed the Carolinas with strong winds and heavy rain.
In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
But the storm still carried “very dangerous winds,” the Center added.
On Wednesday, Florence was downgraded twice from its peak as a Category 4 storm which causes “catastrophic damage.”
But Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has warned residents to take the storm seriously no matter what the category.
Forecasters continue to warn of storm surges, excessive rainfall, and catastrophic flash flooding.