Hurricane Florence is on a path of destruction that will put millions of people at risk and threaten billions of dollars in property damage, centered on the Carolinas, through this weekend.
Florence dipped to Category 2 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph on Wednesday evening.
“Minor fluctuations in strength are likely to continue with factors related to nearby land areas, warm waters, wind shear and the overall large size of Florence,” according to AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshal Moss.
Even though Florence is moving swiftly to the northwest at this time, AccuWeather meteorologists believe that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday. The forward speed of Florence has dropped from 17 mph on Wednesday to 12 mph on Thursday.
Despite the hurricane weakening somewhat since its peak as a Category 4, it has grown substantially in overall size and its predicted deceleration in forward speed will take a costly toll.
Coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds, coastal erosion and storm surge, possibly for days. Inland areas will be poured upon for days. Gusty winds in the saturated soil will topple trees and lead to widespread power outages.
“There will be extensive damage inflicted by Hurricane Florence as it drifts slowly toward the coast late this week before making landfall near the North Carolina and South Carolina border later Friday into Saturday.