Hurricane Florence downgrades to a Category 1 but still dangerous

- Hurricane Florence has downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but is still dangerous as life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds occur along the Carolina coast. The threat of freshwater flooding will also increase over the next several days.

Hurricane Florence is located about 50 miles south of Morehead City, North Carolina and 60 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina. The hurricane is moving toward the northwest near 6 miles per hour. A turn toward the west-northwest and west at a slow forward speed is expected through Friday, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion Friday night and Saturday, says the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The NHC said in their 11 p.m. advisory that Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern Southern Carolina on Friday and Saturday. Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

The NHC also said in that advisory that Hurricane Florence has maximum sustained winds near 90 miles per hour with higher gusts. Little change is strength is expected before Florence moves inland on Friday. More significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland.

READ MORE: No vacancy at Atlantic City casino that offered free rooms during Hurricane Florence

According to the NHC, hurricane force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 195 miles. A Weatherflow station at Fort Macon, North Carolina recently reported a sustained wind of 77 miles per hour with a gust to 100 miles per hour.

A storm surge of ten feet above normal levels was reported by the National Weather Service officer in Morehead City, North Carolina at Cherry Branch Ferry Terminal on the Neuse River, courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for: 

  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for: 

  • North of Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia
  • Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort
  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in southeastern coastal North Carolina into northeastern South Carolina. The NHC says that a total of 20 to 30 inches of rain, isolated 40 inches, is expected. This could cause catastrophic flooding and prolonged significant river flooding. Heavy and excessive rainfall is also expected for the remainder of South Carolina, North Carolina, and southwest Virginia. 6 to 12 inches of rain, isolated 15 inches, is forecasted here. 

READ MORE: Anheuser-Busch sending 300,000 cans of water to Hurricane Florence victims

A few tornadoes are also possible in southeastern North Carolina through Friday, according to the NHC. 

The NHC says that storm surges are expected. 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 can reach up to 9 feet in some areas during high tide. 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.

READ MORE: NOAA Hurricane Hunters fly over Florence

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas, reports the NHC. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. 

The Atlantic is currently very active, with several other cyclones and disturbances ongoing. Take a look at the existing ones by clicking any below.

Be sure to keep up with the latest on the 2018 Hurricane Season HERE. And you can download your Hurricane Guide in English HERE or in Spanish HERE.   

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