Forecasters are now calling hurricane Florence the “storm of a lifetime” and are predicting that it will slow down and stall for days, as it produces catastrophic flooding, leaving destruction in its wake.
The storm is expected to strike the East Coast Friday morning, however, forecasters say that tropical-storm-force winds could arrive as early as Thursday.
Mandatory evacuations have been enacted for many coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. More than 1.5 million people are under evacuation orders.
Hurricane Florence, currently a category 4 major hurricane, is predicted to slow down once it makes landfall, where it will make an agonizing crawl over the Carolinas and into the Southeast early next week.
Forecasters predict coastal areas to experience life-threatening storm surges and destructive winds, especially in coastal areas, which range from Charleston, South Carolina, all of the North Carolina coast, and northward to Norfolk, Virginia.
Hurricane-force winds are defined as when speeds of 74 miles per hour or greater. Tropical-storm force winds are defined as winds between 39-73 miles per hour.
As the storm stalls over land, it will dump torrential amounts of inland rain over the Carolinas and Appalachia for days. As it does, major river flooding and catastrophic flooding are likely to occur.
According to the National Hurricane Center, to the northeast of Florence’s eye, waves were measured up to 83 feet.