UPDATE @ 4:51 a.m.: Florence has weakened to a tropical depression. Winds are moving at 8 mph with 35 mph maximum sustained winds.
>> LIVE UPDATES: Hurricane Florence: Makes landfall as Category 1 storm
UPDATE @ 2 a.m. (Sept. 16): Florence will likely weaken to a depression but flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a large portion of the Carolinas. Florence is moving at 6 mph with 40 mph maximum sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 11:00 p.m.:
Florence continues to deluge southeastern North Carolina with flash flooding and major river flooding. The storm is currently moving 3 mph with 40 mph sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 8:45 p.m.:
Florence is drifting westward over South Carolina with flash flooding and major river flooding. The storm is currently moving 2 mph with 45 mph sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 7:00 p.m.:
At least 11 deaths have been reported, according to the Associated Press.
UPDATE @ 6:40 p.m.: At least nine deaths have been attributed to the storm, according to CNN. Florence is still slowly moving westward across Eastern South Carolina with heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. The storm is currently moving 2 mph with 45 mph sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 3:33 p.m.: At least eight deaths have been attributed to the storm, according to CNN. Florence is slowly moving westward across Eastern South Carolina with heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. The storm currently moving at 3 mph with 45 mph sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 11:05 p.m.: Officials say two deaths previously attributed to the storm were murder-suicides. The official death count is now at five.
UPDATE @ 11:00 a.m.: The storm is moving westward across Eastern South Carolina at 2 mph, with 45 mph sustained winds, heavy rain and catastrophic flooding.
UPDATE @ 9:46 a.m.: The storm has left at least seven people dead, our partners at WSOC in Charlotte have reported.
UPDATE @ 8 a.m.: The storm is continuing to weaken slowly but causing catastrophic flooding over the Carolinas. It's traveling at 5 mph with 50 mph maximum sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 5:39 a.m.: Florence is weakening slowly just inland over eastern South Carolina but continues to cause catastrophic flooding over North and South Carolina. It's still moving at 5 mph with 50 mph maximum sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 1:59 a.m. (Sept 15): The storm is just inland over eastern South Carolina, causing catastrophic flooding over North and South Carolina. It's moving at 5 mph with 60 mph maximum sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 11:12 p.m.: The storm's center is moving slowly west-southwestward over extreme South Carolina. The storm is moving now at 5 mph with 65 mph maximum sustained winds.
UPDATE @ 8:30 p.m.: The storm's center has moved into South Carolina, as both Carolinas continue to get hit with high winds and catastrophic flooding. The storm's sustained wind remain at 70 mph as it travels at 3 mph.
UPDATE @ 6:10 p.m.
At least five people are reported dead as Florence lashes the Carolina coast. The deaths include the first fatalities reported of a woman and her infant after a tree fell on their Wilmington, N.C., home.
UPDATE @ 4:45 p.m.:
Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm. However, life-threatening storm surges and catastrophic flooding is expected over portions of North and South Carolina.
>>PHOTOS: Hurricane batters Carolinas
Tropical Storm Florence has maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
>> LIVE Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar
UPDATE @ 3:12 p.m.:
The first reported fatalities of Hurricane Florence are a mother and her infant in Wilmington, North Carolina. A tree fell on their home, according to the Associated Press.
UPDATE @ 2:15 p.m.
Hurricane Florence continues to weaken and now has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
UPDATE @ 11 a.m.:
Hurricane Florence has weakened again according to first measurements after the storm made landfall Friday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are now 80 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, making the storm a weaker Category 1 hurricane.
Florence is located about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina ans is moving southwest around 3 mph.
UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m. (Sept 14):
Over 30 inches of rain have fallen in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina already as Hurricane Florence begins to move inland.
RELATED: 2 Ohio Task Force 1 teams heading to North Carolina
While sustained winds have remained around 90 mph, wind gusts have reached around 105 mph, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.
UPDATE @ 7:45 a.m: The center of the eye of Hurricane Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Maximum sustained winds have maintained at 90 mph.
UPDATE @ 7:25 a.m: The center of the storm is about to make landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
A NOAA buoy, located about 50 miles east of the center of Hurricane Florence’s eye, reported a wind gust of 112 mph.
A Weatherbug site located at Cape Fear Community College recently reported a wind guss of 100 mph. A NOAA observing site at Wrightsville Beach reported a sustaind wind of 60 mph and a wind gust of 87 mph. Wind gusts of 91 mph were also reported at the Wilmington Airport.
UPDATE@6:04 a.m.: The eyewall of Hurricane Florence is onshore in North Carolina; landfall expected soon, according to the National Hurricane Center.
UPDATE@5:15 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina, causing life-threatening storm surge.
UPDATE @ 2:25 a.m: Florence is about 35 miles away from Wilmington North Carolina with hurricane force winds and life-threatening storm surge occurring along part of the North Carolina coast
The Category 1 Storm, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, is moving very slowly to the west-northwest and is expected to move over land sometime today.
Very heavy rain continues on with Southeast North Carolina and Northeast South Carolina, both along the coast, potentially seeing 20 to 30 inches of rainfall. Further inland, 6 to 12 inches of rain will be possible.
Hurricane force winds extend 80 miles from the center of Florence with tropical storm force winds extending almost 200 miles from center.
UPDATE @ 1:30 a.m. (Sept. 14):
Hurricane Florence is now a Category 1 storm. Life-threatening storm surge is occurring in portions of North Carolina.
Florence is about 45 miles east of Wilmington, N.C., with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
A NOAA observing site at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 67 mph and a gust to 79 mph . A Weatherflow station at Fort Macon, N.C., recently reported a sustained wind of 70 mph and a wind gust of 92 mph.
Water levels continue to rise quickly on the western side of Pamlico Sound. A USGS gauge at New Bern, N.C., on the Neuse River is recording 9.6 feet of inundation.
UPDATE @ 11 p.m. (Sept. 13):
Life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds are now occurring along the North Carolina coast.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.
Data from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft, coastal surface observations, and NOAA Doppler radar indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected before Florence moves inland on Friday.
UPDATE @ 9:55 p.m.: Hurricane conditions are spreading across the Cape Lookout, N.C., area, the National Hurricane Center reports.
RELATED: Hurricane Scale: What is the difference between a Category 1-5 storm
The storm is 75 miles east of Wilmington, N.C., about 135 miles east of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Maximum winds are 100 mph. Winds at Cape Lookout are clocking at 83 mph, with a gust to 106 mph, according to a NOAA observing site there.
Water levels continue to rise quickly on the western side of Pamlico Sound. A gauge at Oriental, N.C., on the Neuse River is recording a water height of about 5.5 feet above normal levels.
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UPDATE @ 8 p.m.:
Hurricane Florence is about 85 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, and 145 miles of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The Category 2 storm has sustained winds of about 100 mph. Little change in strength is expected before the eye of Florence reaches the coast, with slow weakening expected after the center moves inland or meanders near the coast.
>>Carolinas brace for extremely dangerous Hurricane Florence
UPDATE @ 5 p.m.:
Hurricane Florence remains a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of about 100 mph.
Florence is about 100 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 155 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Hurricane-force winds are getting closer to the North Carolina Outer Banks and coastal southeastern North Carolina.
Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall is expected.
UPDATE @ 2 p.m.:
Hurricane Florence remains a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 mph.
Florence is 110 miles away from Wilmington, N.C., and is moving northwest at 10 mph.
Heavy rainbands with tropical storm force winds are spreading across the outer banks and coastal southeastern North Carolina.
Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall is expected.
UPDATE @ 8:20 a.m.:
Hurricane Florence remains a strong Category 2 storm with sustained winds remaining at 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm remains around 170 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and is moving to the northwest at 12 mph.
Rain bands will continue to move across the barrier islands of North Carolina as Florence begins a slow progression inland today.
Tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive today with the center of Florence moving over land late tonight or early Friday.
A tornado watch has also been issued for northeast portions of North Carolina, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.
Experts continue to warn residents even with Florence weakening slightly over the last 24 hours, the hurricane is still expected to bring catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge.
Zontini said Florence could regain strength before making landfall.
UPDATE @ 5 a.m.:
Rain bands will continue to move in on the North Carolina coast Thursday.
Threats remain the same with a major storm surge and heavy rainfall. Hurricane force winds, 74 mph, extend about 75 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds, 39 mph, extend about 195 miles from the center.
UPDATE 9/13/18 @ 2 a.m.:
Hurricane Florence is getting closer to the Carolina coast this morning with it being less than 300 miles away from Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.
The storm has sustained winds at 110 mph and gusts stronger than that. It is still a Category 2 but it could strengthen a bit more before reaching the coast, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.
A NOAA buoy southwest of Florence’s center picked up winds sustained at 56 mph with gusts over 70 mph.
Impacts remain the same with life threatening storm surge, rain totals that could exceed 30 inches in coastal North Carolina, damaging winds and even tornadoes.
Florence is expected near or over the Carolina coast later today and tomorrow.
Hurricane center forecasters in Miami were reporting at 8 p.m. that the storm was weakening and that its max sustained winds had dropped slightly to 115 mph.
The storm was centered 335 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., moving northwest at 16 mph.
The threat of a life-threatening storm surge and flooding to coastal areas has not changed.
Warm Atlantic waters and limited wind shear is helping to keep the storm so powerful, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said.
Winds are now sustained at 120 mph, down slightly from the 125 mph winds recorded earlier Wednesday.
The storm is expected to move to the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday and Friday, Zontini said, but the latest tracks are predicting impacts further south and westward.
“Florence has the potential to move slowly, which would keep the potential for life threatening storm surge on the coast as well as flooding,” Zontini said.
If Florence stalls near the coast, it will allow heavy rain to linger, according to Zontini.
RELATED: Residents urged to take action on East Coast ahead of Hurricane Florence’s expected landfall
“Rainfall may range in coastal North Carolina from 20 to 30 inches and coastal South Carolina could get 10 to 20 inches,” she said.
Heavy rain from the storm will also push further inland. Tropical storm force winds, classified as 39 mph or higher could stretch 175 miles out from the center of the storm.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting the remnants of Florence to stay in the southeast U.S. through Sunday.
“Major impacts aren’t expected in Ohio but some moisture may arrive Monday or Tuesday,” according to Zontini.
The slight weakening of the storm Tuesday morning was likely because of eyewall replacement,” she said.
“This process can occur in an intense hurricane when a secondary eyewall develops and moves in on the original eyewall stealing the moisture until it is replace. This can actually allow a major hurricane to briefly weaken then regain strength or strengthen further.”
All eyes are on the coast, from South Carolina through Virginia, where it’s possible Florence could make landfall this week.
South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are preparing for impact this week. Even further into the mid-Atlantic, some effects could be felt from heavy rain and wind.
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