It’s not really a question of whether Florence will hit the Carolinas. It’s mostly a question of when.
Hurricane Florence is moving slowly, but steadily, toward the U.S. East Coast, and its latest forecast path takes it directly toward the Carolinas.
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As of Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) expected the Carolinas to begin to feel tropical-storm-force winds from Florence as early as Wednesday evening.
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.
Any small change to the storm’s current track could affect its path and impact, though, and it’s still early, James Murrow, National Weather Service Raleigh forecaster, said in a Sunday briefing.
But most of the many “spaghetti” models for Florence agree that the storm is headed to the East Coast near the Carolinas.
Experts say the time to prepare is now.
“If this, which is looking sort of like a worst-case scenario, comes to pass, there’s going to be a lot of folks rushing out at the last minute to get supplies,” said Nick Petro, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, in a briefing on Florence Sunday. “You have all day today, the weather’s generally OK; tomorrow, Monday, those are the days people need to be out there preparing because come Tuesday and Wednesday, if this holds, there’s going to be a lot of concerned folks out there. The sooner preparations are completed, the better.”
Florence is expected to bring two major threats to the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center: storm surge flooding on the coast and inland freshwater flooding from heavy rain.
The governors of North and South Carolina both issued states of emergency ahead of the storm.