It is rapidly intensifying southeast of Bermuda. It’s likely to lash the East Coast later this week with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and massive inland rainfall flooding in one of the strongest strikes on this part of the East Coast on record. Florence is already generating swells that are affecting parts of the U.S. East Coast which will produce life-threatening surf and rip current conditions at these beaches. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Florence to be a major hurricane when it arrives at the Southeast coast Thursday. The peak impacts from Florence are expected to arrive on Thursday or even Wednesday night.
Areas from southeastern Virginia to the Carolinas are most likely to see the first impacts from Florence. This is because University of North Carolina at Wilmington is encouraging its students to leave campus this week for a safer location. Locations farther south, such as Georgia and even northeast Florida, and farther north into the mid-Atlantic should also monitor Florence for any forecast changes. Numerous downed trees and long-lasting power outages could occur near and inland from where the center of Florence strikes. Florence could not only produce heavy rain along the coast, but also farther inland across the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic. That heavy rain threat may last for days.