(WSPA) — Florence has strengthened to a category 4 hurricane with top winds now between 130 and 156 miles per hour.
This rapid strengthening is expected to continue and it could be classified as a category 4 system by Tuesday morning.
The motion is to the west at 13 mph, and the forecast track has not changed much.
High pressure to the north of Florence will continue its west/northwestward motion, and high pressure will make a landfall probable along the Carolina coast late Thursday evening.
While the official NHC forecast is for a landfall near Wilmington, the system will shift a little either to the right or left of the track, keeping South Carolina in play for a landfall as well. Areas south of Charleston have smaller chances for major impacts.
In the Western Carolinas, the mountains and perhaps eastern parts of the Upstate will see most of what we get from Florence as far as rain is concerned, but the whole area will turn breezy by Thursday.
Major inland flooding will occur along and to the right of the track, and central NC has the highest risk for this substantial rainfall that could top 15″.
Camp Lejeune says in a statement that it’s urging personnel to prepare now, and will open shelters on the base if necessary.