WILMINGTON, N.C. (Reuters) - Heavy rain, gusting winds and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence deluged the Carolinas on Thursday as the massive, slow-moving storm crept toward the coastline, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf. Florence, downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and moving west at only 5 miles per hour (8 kph), remained huge, unpredictable and potentially deadly ahead of its forecast landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at mid-day on Friday.

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