Major Hurricane Florence is quickly moving towards the Carolina coastline Wednesday and will bring gusty winds and heavy rains to the Southeast starting Thursday.
Winds will ramp up first at the coast, reaching tropical storm force on Thursday. Hurricane force winds of over 74 mph will arrive very early on Friday, particularly around Wilmington, North Carolina.
The winds will extend far inland though, with tropical storm force gusts potentially reaching into parts of Central North Carolina.
The powerful winds will batter the coast, and push a significant storm surge towards the coastline. This is the primary reason people are being evacuated. Storm surge is often one of the most deadly components of a storm.
After coming close to, or making, landfall in Southeastern North Carolina Thursday night into Friday morning the storm will slow to a crawl. It will then likely drift into parts of South Carolina through the rest of the day Friday and even into the weekend.
It’s at that point where the risk of flooding from rainfall dramatically increases. Tropical downpours will continue for several days in parts of both North and South Carolina, with some rainfall totals reaching 20 inches plus.
At this point, it looks like the bull's eye will be in Eastern North Carolina and Eastern South Carolina, with totals gradually dropping off to the north and west.
The storm will slowly slide south, and slow down because a strong area of high pressure is sitting over the northeast this weekend. So while it keeps the Southeast locked in stormy weather for days, it means New England stays quiet.
The only impacts we will see from Florence this week is large waves and the risk of rip currents, especially for south-facing beaches.