As predicated, Hurricane Florence has spun into a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds around 130 mph.
All indications suggest Florence will begin to make landfall late Thursday night or early Friday morning along the North and South Carolina coastline.
With no signs of slowly down, water temperatures are warm enough to ensure Florence remains an intense category 4 or 3 before making landfill.
Life threatening storm surges, flooding, and damaging hurricane force winds will contribute to the severity of this storm.
After making landfall, the storm could linger over the east coast, depositing copious rainfall on residents. In fact, 20-35" rainfall amounts are possible in spots over a five day period. The threat of widespread flooding is incredibly high with this storm.
As the storm moves inland, the current projection is that it'll remain fairly stationary around the southeastern states . Heavy rain will accompany the lingering effects of Florence over already saturated soil in the southeast.
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas from South Carolina to Virginia as this could conceivably be the worst hurricane to ever strike the Carolina coast.
Hurricane warnings were issued for the South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck North Carolina, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Hurricane watches extend north to the North Carolina/Virginia border and south toward Charleston.
The biggest surge should occur just to the north of where the eye of the storm comes ashore, which the National Hurricane Center projects will be in southeast North Carolina. This will result in inundation of roads, homes, and businesses.
Storm surge warnings are issued from South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, N.C., while the Charleston area is under a storm surge watch.
Although all storms are subject to sporadic movement, the certainty of this storm hitting the Carolinas stands at about 85%.
To put this storm in perspective, if Florence remains a category 4 storm at impact, it will be the strongest storm in US history to make landfall so far north. Hurricane Hugo was a category 4 storm that struck southern Florida in 1989; every other storm that effected the region was a category 3 or less. Residents don't particularly have anything to compare this storm to.
In addition, we are still monitoring Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac in the Atlantic. Isaac looks to be moving into the Caribbean within the next few days, which could be the fuel for further intensification.
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