11 p.m. update:
Hurricane Florence, now a Category 1 storm, continued its slow march toward land, with heavy rain bands lashing the southeast North Carolina coast as it approached Cape Fear.
The latest forecast called for “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds” and warned that the threat of inland flooding would increase in the coming days.
Forecasters said late Thursday that Horry County would see at least 15 inches of rain, while some areas could get between 20 and 30 inches. Flood warnings were issued.
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The center of the storm was about 60 miles east southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and threats of flooding, dangerous storm surge and high winds remained in place along the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts.
Radar showed maximum sustained winds at 90 mph, with higher gusts.
Horry County is expected to see peak sustained wind speeds of 50 to 72 mph, with gusts reaching the upper 80s in northeast parts of the county.
2 p.m. update:
Hurricane Florence’s eye is approaching the North Carolina coast with officials saying it will hit the state around 8 a.m. Friday. The latest forecast says Florence will cross into South Carolina around 8 p.m. Friday. It’s traveling around 10 mph.
Updated rainfall totals still range from 17-22 inches for Horry County.
11 a.m. update:
Projected rainfalls for Myrtle Beach have increased as Hurricane Florence moves closer to shore with it looking like the area will receive up to and possibly more than 20 inches. Tropical force storm winds are expected to arrive between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
8 a.m. update:
Ready or not, here Florence comes.
Hurricane Florence is nearing Myrtle Beach with Horry County under hurricane and storm-surge warnings as Florence moves at a slow speed toward the Carolinas.
Life-threatening conditions remain likely even as Florence has downgraded to a Category 2, the National Weather Service in Wilmington reported Thursday. The Grand Strand area will begin to see tropical storm force winds late Thursday afternoon and evening.
A flash-flood watch remains in effect. Wind, surge, inland flooding and marine impacts are considered extreme. There is a moderate tornado risk for the local area.
Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall is expected. North Myrtle Beach could see a storm surge between 6 and 9 feet. Myrtle Beach could see a 4- to 6-foot surge if peak surge happens at high tide, the NHS reports.
Florence isn’t expected to have any change in strength before the eye hits the coast. Considered a “large hurricane,” Florence’s hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles outward, the NHS reports. As of Thursday morning, the storm had increased in size and is expected to generate “far-reaching impacts” regardless of where the eye hits the coast, the NHS reports.
Landfall is possible Friday.
Most of Horry County has a high chance of flooding, while Georgetown County has a moderate risk. It’s possible the Grand Strand could see between 10 and 20 inches of rainfall, the NWS in Wilmington reports.