The 5:00pm advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows the massive storm has lost a little internal power but the forecast path is now considerably worse. The projections put Florence actually making near landfall and simultaneously shifting south buzz-sawing both the North Carolina and South Carolina coast with hurricane winds.
The projected path is incredible. SEE HERE (hit play) a hurricane paralleling the coastline while retaining strength is one of the most damaging outcomes possible. This also increases the storm surge potential with multiple tide cycles.
Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area late Thursday or Friday. Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength on Thursday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
At 500 PM EDT (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 30.9 North, longitude 72.5 West. Florence is moving toward the northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to continue through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday, and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in strength will be possible through Thursday morning. Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday. (more)
If you in in the coastal region, or an area at risk of floods, and have the capability to leave, it would likely be the best option to evacuate. Listen to your local officials.