Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

83-Foot Wave Recorded By Satellite Monitoring Hurricane Florence

83-Foot Wave Recorded By Satellite Monitoring Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is expected to cause devastation when it makes landfall later today or early tomorrow, with "life-threatening storm surge" and intense rainfall. Instead, the storm is now expected to make landfall over Wilmington, traveling south over Myrtle Beach between Friday and Saturday, and then traveling through SC and North Carolina to the Tennessee border through Sunday into Monday.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Florence was 435 miles from Wilmington, N.C., moving northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Florence, now a category three storm, continues to churn its way toward the East Coast and is predicted to hit the Carolinas by Thursday evening with a potential to impact over 10 million residents in the area. The Wilmington area can now expect 9-to-13-foot storm surges if Florence's peak impact coincides with high tide, Brunswick County coastal areas west of Southport can expect 6-to-9-foot surges.

Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

Some weakening has occurred today, but there will be one last window tonight and early tomorrow for Florence to have another shot at strengthening a bit before its center begins to reach the southern North Carolina/northern SC coasts.

"As we have been predicting, this hurricane is unpredictable", McMaster said at a news briefing updating the state's response to Florence on Wednesday.

We started the day in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we met Gov. Roy Cooper at the state's emergency operations center.


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.

"In fact, this entire area is under a mandatory evacuation order", he said.

At Nags Head on North Carolina's Hatteras Island, only a few people remained to take photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

The tickets are available on a first come first serve basis, the department said.

"You've seen how changes can be", Cline said.

Steering currents - around clear weather high-pressure systems and stormy low-pressure systems - redirect hurricanes, with the clear weather systems acting as walls that storms have to go around. A NOAA buoy located about 100 miles northeast of Florence's eye recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 74 mph (119 km/h). Most other beachgoers were long gone.

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