The Carolinas could begin to feel Hurricane Florence’s fury as early as Wednesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The “extremely dangerous major hurricane” is predicted to hit the coast late Thursday or early Friday morning, dropping as much as 30 inches of rain in some areas and wind gusts in the 140 mph range, says the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
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As of 5 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Florence was swirling in the Atlantic toward the Carolinas coast at a rate of 17 mph, the NHC said.
The NHC is predicting “tropical-storm-force winds” — in the 39 to 73 mph range — will reach the Carolinas coast by late Wednesday and move inland within 24 hours, and landfall is expected Thursday evening or early Friday morning.
The storm itself, however, is not expected to make landfall until Thursday evening at the earliest, according to the latest forecast path from the NHC.
A “probable” track of Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues to show the storm hitting the North Carolina coast, though it appears the predicted landfall is edging north of Wilmington toward the Outer Banks, according to the latest maps issued by the National Weather Service.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Florence had maximum sustained winds of about 140 mph with higher gusts, a slight weakening from the morning, the NHC said.