First Alert Forecast: Florence intensifies, targets Carolinas

First Alert Forecast: Florence intensifies, targets Carolinas
Satellite image of Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic. (Source: WECT)
Your First Alert Planning Forecast for the next several days features impacts from Hurricane Florence. (Source: WECT)
Your First Alert Planning Forecast for the next several days features impacts from Hurricane Florence. (Source: WECT)
Confidence is high in drastically deteriorating weather conditions between Wednesday and Thursday. (Source: WECT)
Confidence is high in drastically deteriorating weather conditions between Wednesday and Thursday. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - You've been monitoring and preparing for Hurricane Florence and this is now the week where you'll likely have to put some or all of those plans into action. Please continue to expend your energy not on anxiety, but positive action. Here is the latest on Florence from your First Alert Weather Team...

SETUP AND TIMING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD: A late summer high pressure system will initially protect the Carolinas from stormy weather but, ultimately, the same high ought to usher major Hurricane Florence shoreward. Monday through Wednesday will feature hot sun, only scattered rain, and, aside from heavy surf, no overt signs of an impending hurricane. Brace for rapidly deteriorating conditions Wednesday night and the height of the storm Thursday. Mixed signals exist on the degree to which the weather will improve between Friday and the weekend but, for now, improvements seem likely.

RAIN IMPACTS FOR THE CAPE FEAR REGION: Florence has the potential to produce several inches of rain and at least minor to moderate lowland flooding. Should Florence stall before exiting the region, a chance for more than a foot of rainfall exists. You can expect more details on the rainfall forecast as nuances with storm track and steering become more evident.

WIND IMPACTS FOR THE CAPE FEAR REGION: Florence has the potential to produce at least 18 to 36 hours of tropical storm and hurricane-force winds beginning Wednesday night. Isolated tornadoes will be possible, too, especially if the center of Florence tracks over or just west of the area. Unless a major shift in Florence's track develops, you should expect widespread power outages and scattered to widespread tree and structural damage.

OCEAN IMPACTS FOR THE CAPE FEAR REGION: Florence will generate heavy surf and rip currents all week and a potentially very dangerous storm surge near its time of landfall. The exact track of Florence's eye wall will be crucial here: a jog toward Morehead City would generally limit surge but a run toward Myrtle Beach would amplify it. You can expect a more refined storm surge forecast as the week progresses, but for now, you should be leery of the possibility of significant dune breaches, barrier island overwash, and Intracoastal Waterway flooding with Florence.

Thank you for trusting your First Alert Weather Team on television, the web, social media, and your WECT Weather App!

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ELSEWHERE IN THE TROPICS: 
Hurricanes Helene and Isaac do not appear to pose a long-term threat to the Carolinas. This week, Helene will track northward through the open eastern Atlantic Ocean. Isaac will likely track due west into the Caribbean Sea in the same time.

NEUWIRTH MOTORS FIRST ALERT SKY CAMERA NETWORK: CLICK HERE to enjoy views from the Battleship North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach, Surf City, Ocean Isle Beach, Southport, Whiteville, and Elizabethtown. (Note: cameras not available on mobile devices.)

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