RICHMOND, Va. -- Wind speeds in Hurricane Florence have dropped slightly, but it continues to be a strong hurricane with winds of 110 mph, just 1 mph shy of category three status. The center is still located over 250 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
It will move closer to the coast Thursday into Friday, making a landfall near midday Friday near Wilmington.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for far southeastern Virginia. Hurricane warnings are up for much of North and South Carolina.
Hurricane-force winds will remain in the Carolinas, closer to the landfall.
Wind speeds above 40 mph are possible in Virginia, especially in southern and southeastern Virginia, but it will not be a very prolonged period of strong winds.
Florence will move much more slowly from Friday through the weekend, and this will cause rainfall amounts over 20" in the Carolinas.
Locally, rainfall of 1 to 3 inches will be possible with isolated areas picking up over 4 inches. The better chance of that is across southern and southeastern Virginia. The big wildcard in our forecast is what happens with the remnants after Tuesday. If it tracks west or north, we wouldn't see much additional rainfall/ However, if the remnants track to the northeast up through West Virginia, we could see another period of steadier rain on Tuesday.
Due to the saturated ground, some gusts over 30 mph may bring down some weaker trees across our area.
The onshore wind flow will cause coastal flooding in eastern Virginia. Water levels may exceed 3 feet above normal during the high tide cycles.
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