Hurricane Florence path tracker LIVE: NOAA latest maps — Florence to be Cat 5 in HOURS


Hurricane Florence is on track to become the first Category 4 storm to make a direct hit on North Carolina in six decades.

On Wednesday, the barrelling storm howled closer to shore on Wednesday, threatening to unleash pounding surf, days of torrential rain and severe flooding.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, the storm could be upgraded to a category five hurricane within hours, according to the NOAA.

Express.co.uk brings you all the latest path and tracking news on Hurricane Florence below. All times in BST.

Thursday 14 September 

0.30am update: Tropical Storm strength winds expected Thursday morning 

Tropical Storm strength winds are expected to start hitting the North Carolina coast on Thursday morning. 

Hurricane and storm serge warning remain in place for South Santee River in South Carolina, to Duck in North Carolina, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. 

President Trump made a statement on the storm during a Medal of Honour reception at the White House. 

He said: “My administration is in close coordination with state and local authorities and FEMA has already placed extensive resources on the ground. 

“We are ready, but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country.”  

Wednesday 12 September 

23.40 update: Virginia Beach high school open to evacuees 

The Kellam High School in Virginia Beach has opened for evacuees looking to avoid Hurricane Florence. 

Residents have been filmed arriving with large bags of food, drink and personal possessions. 

23:20 update: “Storm of a lifetime” on its way

The National Weather Service has warned that Hurricane Florence: “Will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast.” 

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 3 storm, is moving northwest towards the Carolinas. 

Meteorologist Mike Smith reports: “It appears a major flood is on the way in the Middle Atlantic region. 

“It is likely some areas will flood that have never flooded before.” 

Meanwhile the National Hurricane Centre are warning: “There is a high to moderate risk of flash flooding from Florence across eastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina on Friday.” 

8.50pm update: Carolina to be without power, affecting millions

Duke Energy North and South Carolina’s major energy suppier, said that the storm could see up to three million customers siurviving without power.

The latest predictions also state that people could be left powerless for weeks to come after the storm has passed. 

There is the possibility that Florence will continue to weaken, so these numbers are subject to change in the future. 

7pm update: Florence downgraded to Category 4

Hurricane Florence has now clibed down from its earlier perch at 130mph, and is now near 125 mph.

Some more punishing winds have been detected, but are not constant enough within the system.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has said that strength fluctuations are possbile up to Thursday.

Following Thursday, further weakening is expected to be ongoing, but the current forecast points to Floence remaining an extreme danger to Carolina. 

6pm update: 40 inches of rain now predicted for North Carolina

North Carolina is expected to receive a massive 40 inches of rain from oncoming Florence. 

This doesn’t include the predicted total for other parts of the state, and the total is likely to increase exponentially. 

A North Carolina based National Weather Service meteorologist taked to ABCnews, saying: «This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.

«I can’t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm.»

Hurricane Florence latest update: Latest maps of oncoming storm

4pm update: State of emergency for North and South Carolina

President Donald Trump has set down a state of emergency for North and South Carolina.

Florence’s centre is still sitting at category 4 on the Saffir Simpson, scale but poses a massive threat. 

At the moment, Florence is 530 miles southeast of North Carolina, and encroaching with severe wind speeds of 130 mph.

The state of emergency will see extra funds opened for the areas where the storm is expected to impact, and normal government function suspended. 

3.30pm update: Storm posing a ‘huge’ danger according to FEMA administrator

The surge rolling in as a result of the system poses a massive danger according to FEMA Administrator Brock Long.

Talking to ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’, he said: «People do not live and survive to tell the tale about what their experience is like with storm surge.

«It’s the most deadly part of the hurricane that comes in.»

«This is not going to be a glancing blow. … This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.»

2.25pm update: Dream wedding ruined by Florence as couple forced to elope

Lindsay Ryan and her fiancé Abe Mosher live in California but headed to Charleston to bring their wedding to Lindsay’s 93-year-old grandparents.

“We of course had our eyes on the storm,” Lindsay told Express.co.uk, “but we expected it to go more north and only slightly impact Charleston.”

But when the couple awoke on Monday, the whole area was under mandatory evacuation. 

But they made a decision: they would elope.

“Our venue coordinator sent an email saying her friend was a justice of the peace and was not leaving for the storm and would marry us,” she said.

Find out more about this heart warming story here.

Hurricane Florence wedding: Lindsay

1.20pm update: Latest NOAA report

The NHC said: «Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

«Strengthening is forecast through tonight.

«While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the US coast.

«An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is currently investigating the hurricane.»

12.03pm update: Key Messages from the NHC

1. A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for a portion of this area. All interests from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should complete preparations and follow any advice given by local officials.

2. Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding is likely over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.

3. Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Strong winds could also spread inland into portions of the Carolinas.

4. Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents.

Hurricane Florence: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

11.57am update: Seas to become dangerous ahead of Florence’s arrival

Accuweather forecasters warned large swells will propagate outward hundreds of miles away from the center of the storm this week.

The swells will make for rough seas, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

«The rough surf and seas can occur hundreds of miles away from the path of the storm,» Sosnowski said.

11.51am update; Florence’s track forecast has now become less certain

The Weather Channel said: «That high-pressure dome aloft over the western Atlantic is now expected to weaken Thursday into Friday.

«This will mean winds steering Florence will collapse for a time, slowing Florence’s forward speed to a crawl as its center near the coast from Thursday night into Friday.

«With low wind shear and warm ocean water, Florence could gain a little more strength through early Thursday. Regardless, Florence will be a dangerous, formidable hurricane nearing the East Coast beginning late Thursday night.»

11.39am update: Latest NOAA maps and NHC advisories released

The NOAA and NHC have released their latest graphics, which show where the hurtling Hurricane Florence is headed over the coming days.

Images below show the storm’s barrelling path, along with where watches and warnings are in place.

Hurricane Florence NOAA map

Hurricane Florence NOAA map

Hurricane Florence NOAA map

11.35am update: Florence will reach the Carolina coasts and pose a serious threat to lives and property late this week

AccuWeather meteorologists believe Florence will wreak «extensive damage» due to its predicted path, «which is perpendicular to the coast, rather than at an oblique angle».

AccuWeather Founder and President Dr Joel N Myers said: «This means the east and southeast winds on the east side of the storm are going to be most effective in driving storm surge flooding as the wind and waves pound the coast.

«That is one of many factors in why AccuWeather is estimating $30 billion in economic impact and damage from Florence.»

11.26am update: Hurricane closes in on Carolinas

The category 4 hurricane is located about 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 km per hour), it said.

«The center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday,» the NHC said.

11.00am update: The National Weather Service issued an ominous warning

«This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that`s saying a lot given the impacts we`ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd and Matthew,» it said.

«I can`t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge and inland flooding with this storm.»

Hurricane Florence map

10.20am update: Florence is expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane as it approaches the coast

The 5am NOAA advisory: «Florence will continue to be steered west-northwestward to northwestward around the southwestern portion of a mid-level ridge centered northeast of Bermuda.

«By late Thursday, a mid-level ridge is forecast to begin building over the east-central United States, which is expected to cause Florence to slow down significantly by 48 hours.

«The track guidance is in good agreement through the first couple of days of the forecast period, and the NHC track forecast again brings the center of the hurricane very close to the coasts of North and South Carolina within 48 hours.»

10.00am update: Shops run out of emergency supplies as evacuations continue

Shops along the coast have been wiped of the bare essentials as panic buying begins.

“There’s no water. There’s no juices. There’s no canned goods,” Kristin Harrington said at a Walmart in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Long lines formed at service stations as thousands of motorists prepared their evacuation route to escape the barreling storm officials warned was “nothing like you’ve ever seen”.

Hurricane Florence path live

9.58am update: What are the latest NOAA warnings?

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
  • North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
  • North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border

Hurricane Florence

9.45am update: Where is Hurricane Florence now?

As of 2am AST local time, 7am BST, Florence was 385 miles from Bermuda and 625 miles from Cape Fear in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 17mph and the latest trajectory showed its centre most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is expected to bring tropical storm-force winds, life-threatening storm surges of seawater and 35 inches (89 cm) of rain to parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, where intense inland flooding was expected.

9.00am update: Mandatory evacuation orders issued

More than 1.5 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories being shuttered to protect from the fierce winds.

To hasten evacuations from coastal South Carolina, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from shore.

«This storm is a monster,» North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. 

Forecasts for the region show Hurricane Florence was likely to stall over North Carolina, «bringing days and days of rain.»

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