Florence falls to a tropical storm, batters the Carolinas with heavy rain
Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of 70 miles per hour this afternoon, according to NOAA.
Florence has been causing serious damage to the North Carolina coastline since it made landfall near Wilmington early Friday morning.
The storm will spread throughout the Carolinas as it weakens, though effects on Aiken County are expected to be limited to the possibility of some wind and rain.
Tropical storm conditions in Aiken are possible throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
As of Friday afternoon, there will be no closures in Hitchcock Woods due to the storm.
Some families, medical patients and animals have evacuated to Aiken from coastal counties throughout the Carolinas to wait out the storm.
Aiken Regional Medical Centers accepted 27 patients from coastal medical centers Wednesday morning, according to Director of Marketing Ashlee Brewer.
“Through advanced planning, effective communication and incredible teamwork between the two facilities, we were able to receive, register and fully admit all patients to their rooms in a few hours,” said Matt Merrifield, chief operating officer at Aiken Regional Medical Centers in a press release. “It’s a privilege to help keep our Carolina residents safe and healthy.”
A press conference was held by S.C. state officials Friday afternoon regarding updates on the storm.
“It (Hurricane Florence) is approximately the size of the state of South Carolina,” said John Quagliariello, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS in Columbia during the press conference.
Florence is only moving at a speed of 5 miles an hour. As a result, its impacts will be prolonged in the areas it affects.
Quagliariello said flash flooding and rainfall would be the most dangerous impacts of the storm to South Carolina.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster warned power could be down in some parts of South Carolina for days or even weeks.
“This hurricane is going to be with us for about two days,” McMaster said.
It was reported at the press conference that approximately 66,924 power outages have occurred in South Carolina as of 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.