The Carolinas could start feeling Hurricane Florence’s fury as early as Wednesday night

The latest Florence track, impact on Charlotte

WBTV shares Hurricane Florence's track and what to expect in Charlotte, North Carolina and in South Carolina.
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WBTV shares Hurricane Florence's track and what to expect in Charlotte, North Carolina and in South Carolina.

It’s not really a question of whether Florence will hit the Carolinas. It’s mostly a question of when.

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly, but steadily, toward the U.S. East Coast, and its latest forecast path takes it directly toward the Carolinas.

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As of Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) expected the Carolinas to begin to feel tropical-storm-force winds from Florence as early as Wednesday evening.

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The probably path of Hurricane Florence as of Sept. 9, 2018, estimating the landfall of the storm in the Carolinas at Thursday evening or Friday morning. National Hurricane Center

The storm itself, however, is not expected to make landfall until Thursday evening at the earliest, according to the latest forecast path from the NHC.

Any small change to the storm’s current track could affect its path and impact, though, and it’s still early, James Murrow, National Weather Service Raleigh forecaster, said in a Sunday briefing.

But most of the many “spaghetti” models for Florence agree that the storm is headed to the East Coast near the Carolinas.

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“Spaghetti” models for Hurricane Florence as of Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Florence swept into the Carolinas in 2018 and caused extensive damage in both states. Florence set a record for the costliest storm to hit the Carolinas. Here's a look at other costly hurricanes.

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Experts say the time to prepare is now.

“If this, which is looking sort of like a worst-case scenario, comes to pass, there’s going to be a lot of folks rushing out at the last minute to get supplies,” said Nick Petro, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, in a briefing on Florence Sunday. “You have all day today, the weather’s generally OK; tomorrow, Monday, those are the days people need to be out there preparing because come Tuesday and Wednesday, if this holds, there’s going to be a lot of concerned folks out there. The sooner preparations are completed, the better.

Florence is expected to bring two major threats to the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center: storm surge flooding on the coast and inland freshwater flooding from heavy rain.

The governors of North and South Carolina both issued states of emergency ahead of the storm.

A loop of NOAA satellite imagery shows Tropical Storm Florence heading toward the Carolinas followed by Isaac and Helene. Florence could hit the Carolinas as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday.

The state of South Carolina is preparing for some level of impact from Hurricane Florence, Gov. Henry McMaster announced Sunday.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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