Hurricane Florence continued to weaken throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. update.
The NHC downgraded it to Category 2 status, as of its 11 p.m. update, just as the North Carolina coast began feel
Florence now has maximum sustained winds clocked at 110 mph, which is down slightly from the 120 mph in the NHC’s 5 p.m. update.
It was about 280 miles from Wilmington as of 11 p.m., although the North Carolina coast should already be beginning to feel Florence’s effects. It is also about 325 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Florence is moving northwest at 17 mph, the NHC said.
Florence is expected to make a turn in a west-northwest direction and slow down further Thursday night and Friday, the NHC said.
“On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday night and Friday,” the NHC said.
More than 10 million people under storm warnings, watches in Carolinas, Virginia, National Weather Service said.
Florence’s power continues to fluctuate as it churns towards the East Coast.
A hurricane-hunter airplane measured 83-foot waves near the eye of Florence earlier Tuesday, according to a tweet from the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is expected to continue in a west-northwest and northwest direction through Thursday.
Florence’s track shifted south with the 5 a.m. Tuesday advisory – which diminishes what the Triangle could experience from Florence.
“The shift to the south doesn’t mean we are in the clear, it could mean less rain and wind, but still enough where we could have flooding and power outages,” CBS 17 chief meteorologist Wes Hohenstein said.
And the shift doesn’t change the forecast of devastating impacts for the coast — storm surge, wind damage and feet of rain.
If the path shifts further south, the greatest threat of wind damage and flooding will also shift south.
Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday and into Friday, the NHC said. It will then creep forward through early Saturday.
The storm’s winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles, the NHC said.
A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from north of Duck to the North Carolina-Virginia border. The Hurricane Watch for the area has been discontinued, according to the NHC.
The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting 10”+ of rain far southeastern portions of central North Carolina through Monday, which would result in significant flash flooding and river flooding.
Those inland floods will be proceeded by dangerous storm surge along the North and South Carolina coast.