Dramatic shift in latest Hurricane Florence track; ‘This is a life-threatening situation’

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By Wednesday morning, Hurricane Florence showed no signs of letting up in its path to the East Coast.

According the National Hurricane Center, forecasters expect Florence to continue building power through Wednesday night.

The NHC reports that "this is a life threatening situation" as the Carolina coasts anticipate "catastrophic flash flooding," as well as significant river flooding.

Virginia gets some relief as the storm tracks further south, cutting deeper into South Carolina, as of the latest update.

FOX8 Meteorologist Kate Garner said the storm could move further south or take a northern track.

"There is a large margin of error right now in determining exactly where it will go," Garner said.

Florence is now expected to make landfall Friday night between 8 p.m. and midnight, an update from previous reports.

Piedmont Triad

The Piedmont Triad can expect winds to increase Friday through Sunday with 30 to 40 mph winds, according to FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd.

The Triad could see anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of rain, depending on the hurricane's track.

"The amount of rain is going to be lower the further south this thing goes, so we may be adjusting our rainfall outlook pretty dramatically," Byrd said.

The outlook for Saturday remains largely uncertain.

In preparation, Guilford County declared a state of emergency effective Wednesday at noon.

Warnings and Watches

Those in the storm's surge warning should brace themselves for rising waters moving inland from the coast over the next 36 hours.

"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," the NHC reported. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."

According to Byrd, the coasts could face from 3 feet to 12 feet of storm surge and rainfall ranging from 30 to 40 inches.

Areas in the hurricane warning zone are told "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."

Hurricane watch areas face conditions that will make outside preparations dangerous or difficult.

Tropical storm warnings and watches have been called for areas where tropical storm conditions are expected or possible respectively.

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, the following areas are under warning or watch:

  • Storm Surge Warning for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia Border
  • Hurricane Warning for South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina
  • Hurricane Watch for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to South Santee River, South Carolina
  • Tropical Storm Warning for north of Duck, North Carolina, to the North-Carolina-Virginia border
  • Tropical Storm Watch for north of the North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia

The National Hurricane Center warns southeastern and mid-Atlantic states to monitor the hurricane's progress.

Wind speeds reached 130 mph with only 575 miles separating Florence from Cape Fear, North Carolina. Florence is still a Category 4 hurricane.

Since Tuesday, the hurricane grew in speed and is now moving at 17 mph.

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