Hurricane Florence ready to make landfall

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As of 5 AM Friday, Hurricane Florence is now a Cat 1 hurricane. The center of circulation is now about 30 miles off the coast of Wilmington. Flooding rains are slamming the coast and inland areas. At the same time the storm has slowed to a crawl, moving WNW at 6 mph. This amounts to Florence slamming the same areas over and over during most of Friday.

For the WBTV viewing area, our eastern counties will begin to experience higher winds and a better chance for bands of rain as we head into Friday evening. Conditions in the Charlotte metro will deteriorate during the day on Saturday. The heaviest rain will arrive late Saturday night and overnight into Sunday morning. Expect torrential periods of rain during the day on Sunday.

With the storm now tracking south of Charlotte into the Columbia area, we will see some very heavy and hefty rainfall amounts. In Charlotte 6 to 8 inches of rain are possible. To the east of Charlotte, the rainfall amounts are even higher. Areas like Albemarle and Rockingham could see 15 to 20 inches 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...

  • Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC...7-11 ft, with locally higher amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, and Bay Rivers
  • Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft
  • South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC...4-6 ft
  • Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft
  • Salvo NC to Duck NC...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 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...

Southeastern 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 15 inches. This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are occuring over portions of the coast of North Carolina and are expected to spread across portions of southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina through today. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread inland across the remainder of the warning area through Saturday.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern and southeastern North Carolina through today.

SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas.

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

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