CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) - Florence continues to track toward the coast of the Carolinas Wednesday evening. As of the 5 PM advisory, Florence was located about 420 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach and 385 miles southeast of Wilmington. The storm continues to track northwest at 16 mph. It's expected to maintain this track through Saturday, but with a gradual slow down anticipated. The current forecast track brings Florence near the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and Friday and a slow drift to the south, near the coastline, through Saturday.
Florence weakened some Wednesday with winds down to 120 mph which makes it a category 3. Some fluctuations in strength are possible overnight. However, a slow weakening is expected to begin late Thursday. It is still expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane as it nears the U.S. coast.
Hurricane force winds currently extend out about 70 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend out up to 195 miles. The storm continues to grow in size as it moves closer to the coast.
A storm surge warning and hurricane warning remain in effect from the Charleston/Georgetown county border north to Duck, North Carolina. A storm surge watch and hurricane watch remains in effect for Edisto Beach, Charleston County and tidal Berkeley County.
Storm surge forecast for the coast of South Carolina have not changes. We still expect 2 to 4 feet of inundation from Edisto Beach to the South Santee River, including along rivers, tidal creeks and tidal marshlands. From the South Santee River to North Myrtle Beach the storm surge forecast at 4 to 6 feet of inundation.
Early rainfall forecast show 5 to 10 inches of rain possible in South Carolina with isolated areas of 20". The areas that see the highest rainfall totals are highly dependent on the track of Florence this weekend.
Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast late Thursday into Friday in the warning area. This includes parts of Georgetown County. Tropical storm force winds are expected during the day on Thursday.
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