FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Florence track shifted south, high impact event likely

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    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The latest forecast track for Hurricane Florence shows a slow-moving, long-lasting and high impact event for much of eastern North and South Carolina. Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued by the National Hurricane Center.

    At 11 p.m Tuesday, the eye of Hurricane Florence was located 710 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach as a Category 4 Hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

    A STORM SURGE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM SOUTH SANTEE, SOUTH CAROLINA, TO DUCK, NORTH CAROLINA,

    A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER, SOUTH CAROLINA, TO DUCK, NORTH CAROLINA,

    A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR FLORENCE, DARLINGTON, MARION, DILLON, AND MARLBORO COUNTY.

    A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions.

    Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph. A motion toward the west-northwest and northwest is expected through early Thursday. Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the

    southwestern Atlantic ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday and approach the coast of North Carolina late Thursday evening as a category 4 hurricane. Florence is then expected to make a bend to the west, moving through eastern South Carolina Friday, into Saturday.

    LOCAL IMPACTS

    WIND: Based on the latest forecast track, tropical storm force winds of over 40 mph are likely across the entire area starting Thursday night or early Friday. Hurricane Force wind gusts, over 74 mph, are possible across much of Horry County and for areas near the North Carolina border. Winds of this magnitude will be enough to cause scattered to widespread downed trees and powerlines. With the possibility of Florence stalling or crawling near the area, gusty winds could potentially last into the weekend.

    FLOODING: The risk of significant flooding is increasing across our region. The latest trends in forecast models indicate that Florence will likely slow down or stall across the Carolinas and produce major rainfall and flooding. The risk of rainfall amounts of over 10 inches across our area continues to increase. Pockets of 20 inch rain totals are possible, but the exact location of the highest totals will depend on the final track of the hurricane.

    STORM SURGE: The storm surge forecast related to Hurricane Florence is very complicated. With Florence near the southern coast of NC or stalling just on shore, most of the strong winds across our area will be offshore. This will tend to lower the storm surge values across Horry County. An adjustment southward of Florence could place the coast at risk for much higher amounts. Based on the latest track and intensity, storm surge could reach as high as 4 to 6 feet along the Grand Strand. Surge amounts of 6 to 12 feet will be likely for areas across the border and into southeastern North Carolina.

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