Hurricane Florence Timeline: What to Expect From the Storm Through the Weekend

Lauren Greer  APWater floods a parking lot at a condo complex near Kahana Village in Lahaina Hawaii Sept. 12 2018

Lauren Greer APWater floods a parking lot at a condo complex near Kahana Village in Lahaina Hawaii Sept. 12 2018

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

Many people in coastal communities have followed the mandatory evacuation orders, but some are vowing to stay put and ride it out. Pieces of buildings ripped apart by the storm flew through the air.

Florence is expected to stall over the Carolinas and remain for almost a day, somewhat reminiscent of how Hurricane Harvey hovered above Houston, Texas, last year. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas.

It was located about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 145 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Another reason, according to the National Hurricane Center, is that South Carolina's current forecast has Florence traveling down the coastline and heading inland near Myrtle Beach about 2 p.m. Saturday. "So will the power lines, as the trees fall down".

Into the weekend, as the winds start to slacken at the coast and the surge subsides, the rains are likely to keeping coming.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house. The outer rain bands from Hurricane Florence have begun to come ashore in North Carolina. By Sunday evening, winds should fall below 20 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

A National Guardsman directs traffic onto U.S. Highway 501 as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast Wednesday.

A home on Kahekili Highway near the Waihee River Bridge, was evacuated after a flash flood breached the property, Sept. 12, 2018, in Maui, Hawaii.Water floods a parking lot at a condo complex near Kahana Village in Lahaina, Hawaii, Sept. 12, 2018.

It said the additional declaration would bring more federal help with debris removal, search and rescue teams, meals and generators, among other items.

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The bad news? The still-dangerous storm is slowing down ... and is expected to take a leisurely "fish hook" dip through SC after coming ashore somewhere between Carolina Beach, N.C. and Emerald Isle, N.C. sometime around 2:00 a.m. EDT. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

With a diameter of more than 600 miles, Florence is now bigger than both Carolinas and will have widespread impacts from heavy rain across two states.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet - that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said. It's now predicted to make landfall near Wilmington and then head west across SC.

Hurricane Helene, Subtropical Storm Joyce and the potential disturbance are not expected to affect land in the next five days, if at all. Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds.

Just as Hurricane Florence closes in on the Southeast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled - meaning far more people will get blasted with winds 74 miles per hour or greater.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial and farm waste sites.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.

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