Hurricane Florence,a powerful Category 4 storm, early this morning showed it could stall upon reaching the Carolina coast and make a slight shift south toward South Carolina once it makes landfall, becoming “a major flooding event.”
The storm, which is poised to affect millions this week in the southeastern U.S., is “expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall” to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states.
Here’s what should you know about the powerful storm’s path.
Florence is approximately 385 miles southwest of Bermuda and around 575 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, as of 5 a.m. eastern.
The center says the storm is moving west-northwest at 17 mph, and has maximum sustained winds of about 130 mph.
“On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas [Wednesday], and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday.
The center also says the storm could become more powerful.
“Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” it noted. “Strengthening is forecast through [Wednesday]. While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane as it approaches the U.S. coast.”
Early Wednesday the storm was predicted to stall along the southeastern coast when it makes landfall Thursday into Friday. North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia coasts could experience prolonged hurricane force winds and rain.
Storm surge along the coastline could bring upwards of six to 15 feet of water depending on where the eye comes ashore.
THURSDAY – The center of Hurricane Florence remains roughly 125 miles off the coast of North Carolina Thursday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph.. With tropical storm force winds extending 175 miles out of the storm, This means we will start seeing tropical storm winds of 40 mph as of Thursday morning and continuing to increase all day and evening. Heavy rain also begins.
FRIDAY – By Friday morning, the storm continues to crawl offshore, as a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 mph. Even though the current track still has it offshore, the impacts from hurricane force winds and torrential tropical rains continue.
SATURDAY – The current track continues keep a slowly weakening Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph into Saturday morning. A landfall is possible along the Grand Strand by Saturday afternoon. As it moves inland Saturday evening, the “sit and spin” of the storm continues it’s onslaught of heavy rain and tropical storm force winds of 40 to 70 mph.
SUNDAY – Early Sunday morning, the storm has weakened to a tropical storm, but the rain will continue to fall as it “rains itself out.” Gusty winds are still very likely.
NOTES ABOUT FLORENCE FOR OUR READERS
- If you have friends or family on the Carolina coast, they are highly encouraged to evacuate. If they are on the coast, a mandatory evacuation is in place.
- We are starting to see residents of North Carolina come to motels in East Tennessee so travel especially westbound could be heavy at times in the next two days.
- Florence will have an impact on the weather here in the 105.7 The Hog listening area but no where near what it will do on the coast. By Friday, we will see winds increasing with the chances of tropical rainfall. By Saturday, we could see winds gusting up towards 30 miles per hour with heavy rainfall at times.
- There is another system trying to develop in the southern Gulf of Mexico that bears watching. This system could be named in the next day or so.