Hurricane Florence projected to make direct hit on Wilmington, National Hurricane Center says

Note: This may not be the most recent forecast, please visit www.myfox8.com or open the FOX8 app for the very latest on Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence is about a day away from landfall with forecasts placing a direct hit on Wilmington at about 8 a.m. Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

You can  follow the hurricane using the FOX8 Hurricane Tracker.

Rain bands are already affecting the outer banks with rain increasing and waves growing, said FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd.

At 2 a.m. Thursday, the NHC forecasted the hit on Wilmington with maximum wind speeds at 90 mph and wind gusts at 115 mph.

After hitting the North Carolina coast, the hurricane will cut down into South Carolina before sweeping into western North Carolina and north from there.

While the Piedmont Triad does not currently face a direct hit, Byrd warns we are still expected to face significant rain.

"Rain will begin moving into the Piedmont Triad on Saturday and be an issue through Sunday night," said FOX8 Meteorologist Kate Garner. "Winds will be increasing in the Piedmont Triad tonight and tomorrow with some of the wind gusts possibly approaching tropical storm strength."

Hurricane Florence held at a Category 2 storm since the Wednesday 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

"Don't let the category of this storm deceive you," Garner said. "Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and river flooding are still very much expected."

The hurricane is forecasted to move in as a major hurricane.

As of 5 a.m., the storm is currently 205 miles away from Wilmington with current maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. It is moving northwest at 15 mph.

The Carolinas face life-threatening storm surge along the coast.

Summary of watches and warnings in effect:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...
* South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...
* Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to South Santee River, South Carolina
* North of Duck, North Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* North of Duck, North Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border
* North of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia
* Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort