UPDATED 9/13 9:00 a.m.
Squally rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds moved ashore along the Outer Banks this morning as Hurricane Florence neared land. A life-threatening storm surge and powerful winds will follow.
The Washington, D.C., area appears to have lucked out. The latest models and forecasts show Hurricane Florence tracking farther south of the D.C. area, potentially decreasing its impact locally. However, heavy rain is still expected and flooding conditions may occur over the next several days.
At 9:00 a.m., the center of Hurricane Florence was 170 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and was moving toward the northwest at about 12 mph. This general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to continue through Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Carolinas and Virginia have been preparing for the storm since Monday. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued a mandatory evacuation order for coastal Virginia residents in Zone A in advance of Hurricane Florence, effective Tuesday, September 11 at 8 a.m. Zone A includes low-lying areas of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. Residents of Zone A are urged to move to higher ground. Information about shelters will be available soon.
Virginians in coastal areas can see which zone they live in by going to knowyourzoneva.org.
Colleges in the storm’s path have canceled classes, schools have announced they will close in advance of the storm’s approach and thousands of events — too many to list — have been canceled.
Latest weather statement
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 Cape Charles Light Virginia * Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort Interests elsewhere in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 to 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be nearing completion. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK ---------------------- At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars to be near latitude 33.1 North, longitude 75.1 West. Florence is moving slower toward the northwest at about 12 mph (20 km/h). This general motion, accompanied by a further decrease in forward speed, is expected to continue through today. A turn to the west-northwest and west at an even slower forward speed is expected tonight and Friday, and a slow west-southwestward motion is forecast Friday night and Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday. A slow motion over eastern South Carolina is forecast Friday night through Saturday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland. Florence is a large hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). The estimated minimum central pressure based on reports from the the aircraft is 956 mb (28.23 inches). HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide... Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers...9-13 ft North Myrtle Beach SC to Cape Fear NC...6-9 ft Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft South Santee River SC to North Myrtle Beach SC...4-6 ft Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft Salvo NC to North Carolina/Virginia Border...2-4 ft Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC...2-4 ft The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas... Coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina...20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding. Rest of South and North Carolina into southwest Virginia...6 to 12 inches, isolated 24 inches. WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area this evening or early Friday. Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength by later this morning or early this afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be nearing completion. TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday. SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.
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