The Hurricane Florence forecast has gone from bad to worse

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Enlarge / This water vapor image from Wednesday morning shows the enormous pool of moisture that Florence is transporting to the US East Coast. (credit: NOAA)

As of early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Florence had weakened slightly with sustained winds of 130mph, but this is of little consequence as the track forecast now shows a dangerous stalling out near the coast, or just onshore by late Thursday or Friday morning. This will exacerbate already extremely heightened concerns about inland flooding due to torrential rainfall from Florence.

Hurricanes produce three major kinds of threats: storm surge, damaging winds, and inland flooding from rainfall. Most hurricanes produce a combination of the above with varying severity, but rarely does a hurricane present all three threats at an extreme level. Florence is such a hurricane, with what the National Hurricane Center characterizes as a "life-threatening" storm surge for portions of the North and South Carolina coast, and "damaging" winds for these same coastal areas. (See warning areas).

However, probably the biggest concern with Florence is inland flooding, especially as the storm is now likely to become nearly stationary along the Carolina coast and then slowly trudge inland. Adding to these concerns is a new twist the forecast models are indicating will happen—a southwestward jog toward Georgia.

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