Florence approaching NC coast as Cat. 2 storm

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - UPDATE: As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Hurricane Florence had weakened just slightly from the morning report. Still, the wind field has grown much larger.

Tropical storm force winds now extend outwards from the center of circulation some 195 miles... and hurricane force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center of circulation.

The outer bands of Florence have begun lashing the North Carolina coastline along the Outer Banks. Florence is forecast to make land fall around the Wilmington area early Friday morning. Aside from the damaging winds, the greatest threat along the coast will be a massive storm surge and torrential rains. Models depict 20” to 30” inches of rain in coastal areas of North Carolina.

In the Charlotte area and across the WBTV viewing area conditions here will begin to deteriorate by Friday night. The worst of the storm for us will be during the day on Saturday. We may experience tropical storm force winds, along with torrential rain as we go from Saturday into Sunday.

Rainfall estimates for the Charlotte area range from 4 inches to 8 inches of rain. Some areas in the NC mountains may see more than a foot of rain.

Here are some of the main hazards that can be expected over the next 24 to 48 hours along the North Carolina coast and areas just inland. This is the latest from the 11 am update from the National Hurricane Center.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers...9-13 ft

North Myrtle Beach SC to Cape Fear NC...6-9 ft

Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft

South Santee River SC to North Myrtle Beach SC...4-6 ft

Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft

Salvo NC to North Carolina/Virginia Border...2-4 ft

Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC...2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas...

Coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina...20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

Remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest Virginia...6 to 12 inches, isolated 24 inches.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area this evening or early Friday. Tropical storm conditions are already moving onshore within the warning area.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina

5 a.m. While hurricane Florence has weakened in intensity somewhat over the last 24 hours, the wind field has grown much larger. Tropical storm force winds now extend outwards from the center of circulation some 195 miles… and hurricane force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center of circulation.

The outer bands of Florence will begin lashing the North Carolina coastline later this morning. And land fall is still expected around the Wilmington area early Friday morning. Aside from the damaging winds, the greatest threat along the coast will be a massive storm surge and torrential rains. Models depict 20” to 30” inches of rain in coastal areas of North Carolina.

In the Charlotte area and across the WBTV viewing area conditions here will begin to deteriorate by Friday night. The worst of the storm for us will be during the day on Saturday. We may experience tropical storm force winds, along with torrential rain as we go from Saturday into Sunday. Rainfall estimates for the Charlotte area range from 4 inches to 8 inches of rain. Some areas in the NC mountains may see more than a foot of rain.

Here are some of the main hazards that can be expected over the next 24 to 48 hours along the North Carolina coast and areas just inland. This is the latest from the 5 am update from the National Hurricane Center:

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

  • Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico,
  • Pungo, and Bay Rivers...9-13 ft
  • North Myrtle Beach SC to Cape Fear NC...6-9 ft
  • Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft
  • South Santee River SC to North Myrtle Beach SC...4-6 ft
  • Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft
  • Salvo NC to North Carolina/Virginia Border...2-4 ft
  • Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC...2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas...

Coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina...20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river

flooding. Rest of South and North Carolina into southwest Virginia...6 to 12 inches, isolated 24 inches.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area this evening or early Friday. Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength by later this morning or early this afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be nearing completion.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday.

NHC 5 AM Stats on Florence:

  • LOCATION...32.8N 74.7W
  • ABOUT 205 MI...325 KM ESE OF WILMINGTON NORTH CAROLINA
  • ABOUT 250 MI...405 KM ESE OF MYRTLE BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA
  • MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H
  • PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 315 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
  • MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...956 MB...28.23 INCHES

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