Hurricane Florence is still well off the coast of the United States, approximately 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is moving northwest at 16 mph. As of 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Florence appeared to have weakened slightly with peak winds having decreased. The storm is currently a Category 3 with 125 miles-per-hour winds.
Folks living in Charleston, South Carolina, have already started preparing for Florence. The storm is expected to make landfall on Friday, somewhere on North Carolina’s coast, bringing heavy rains and damaging winds as far south as Georgia.
Florence Will Make Landfall as a Major Hurricane & Will Ride the Coast, South, Going Inland Near Myrtle Beach
Florence is expected to make landfall in North Carolina and then ride the coast south, moving inland near Myrtle Beach. As the hurricane moves along the coast, it won’t lose as much steam as it would if it traveled on land.
“The weakening would be slower than if the hurricane moved fully inland. The rainfall and flood threat would remain extreme, and there could be a southwestward-propagating storm surge along the coast. It would be a huge mistake to consider Florence less of a threat on such a track. Unusual tracks with big storms often produce unusual outcomes,” Meteorologist Bob Henson from Weather Underground told the Post and Courier.
It’s rare for a hurricane to move south, in fact, there has never been a recorded hurricane that has drifted south, according to the Post and Courier.
Charleston’s Weather Forecast Includes Several Inches of Rain & Hurricane Force Winds
The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across South Carolina. The storm surge of 2 to 4 feet near Charleston could cause catastrophic flooding. Additionally, the National Weather Service in Charleston said wind gusts of 74 miles per hour are possible in the area.
The winds will arrive on Thursday morning, and will pick up in intensity throughout the day. The worst of the storm’s effects will be felt over the weekend as Florence moves on through.
Evacuation Orders Are in Place
South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster has ordered evacuations along the state’s entire coastline.
“Part of our team approach to this is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said during an emergency briefing on Tuesday. “This is a very dangerous hurricane. We do not want to gamble with a single life of a single South Carolinian.”