Hurricane Florence is expected to bring significant impacts to the Carolina coast, making it a “life-threatening and multi-hazard” storm.
According to the Steve Pfaff, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, areas along the Grand Strand stretching up into North Carolina will feel effects from storm surge, winds and flooding.
The most recent Weather Service forecast calls for 65 to 85 mph winds and gusts up to 110 mph from Surfside to Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. Hurricane-force winds will likely start Friday morning and continue through Sunday morning, according to the Weather Service.
Tropical-storm force winds could arrive on the Grand Strand by Thursday afternoon and continue through Sunday afternoon.
At this time, areas along southern North Carolina are predicted to feel the brunt of the storm. In the Myrtle Beach area, storm surge can be as high as 4 to 6 feet. From North Myrtle Beach to Cape Fear the storm surge can be as high as 6 to 9 feet.
Storm surge above 3 feet is considered life-threatening, Pfaff said.
Winds from Hurricane Florence will have a large impact from Surf City, North Carolina, down to Georgetown, bringing possible structure damage, power outages and debris and downed power lines.
Flooding is expected to occur, with an extreme risk in North Myrtle Beach and a moderate risk in Myrtle Beach. The Myrtle Beach area is expected to receive over 9 inches of rain.
While the path of the storm made a southern turn toward the Grand Strand, the storm is expected to hit as a Category 2 or 3 storm in southeastern North Carolina before turning over the Grand Strand.
The current Weather Center forecast shows Florence turning as it hits North Carolina and coming ashore along the Grand Strand as a Category 1.
The path change does bring greater risks to the outskirts of the “cone of uncertainty,” including Lumberton and northeastern South Carolina.
Hurricane Florence could “rival Matthew and Floyd in some areas,” Pfaff said, stressing the importance of not focusing on where the storm will directly hit the coast.
The Myrtle Beach area will begin to feel impacts from the storm start Thursday morning and through Saturday, according to the Weather Service forecast..
“I’m hoping everyone continues to take this seriously,” Pfaff said. The time to make preparations are “becoming more and more limited.”