MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Carolinas are currently being lashed by the winds and rain of Hurricane Florence. Florence is moving west northwest around 6 mph with maximum sustained winds around 90 mph and gusts exceeding that number.
The National Hurricane Center is watching this storm closely; Florence is in the process of making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, as of 6:30 a.m. The eyewall, which is the worst part of the storm, will move very close if not through Wilmington as it continues to push along the Carolinas Coastline.
The latest track of Florence shows it staying hurricane status through tonight and then downgrade to a Tropical Storm as it pushes into the Midlands of South Carolina and then drop into a Depression status as it skirts through East Tennessee and then up the Appalachian Mountains up to the Northeast.
All up and down the Carolina Coast we are seeing winds of 60 mph and gusts as high as 80 to 90 mph. We are also seeing water levels rise up to 7 feet above normal water levels in some locations and the National Hurricane Center expects waters to rise even higher for some streams that lead to the coast.
Catastrophic flooding is taking place in North and South Carolina. Rainfall amounts have reach near 20 inches in some locations in the Tar Heel State, and we will see even more rain as the storms moves slowly along the coast. Florence will dump more rain as the storm moves inland, this is why flash flood watches are posted inland as the storm pushes through the Carolinas.
Florence, once known as Tropical Depression Six, formed on August 31. It was then named Florence the very next day.
Florence became a Category 4 hurricane on September 5, rapidly intensifying over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wind Shear helped weaken Florence back to tropical storm late in the day September 6th.
Florence then underwent rapid intensification a second time on Sunday into Monday, this is when winds jumped to 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours ending on 12 pm Monday.