National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to slow down significantly once it reaches shore and linger over the Carolinas. Predictions for heavy rainfall stretched into West Virginia.
“When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the center,” Graham said. “It’s not just the coast.”
He warned people living on the coasts and well inland to prepare to lose power, among other storm impacts. “Rain plus winds equals a lot of trees down and power outages that could be for an extended period of time,” Graham said.
Florence has become even stronger over the Atlantic Ocean.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Florence rapidly intensified Monday morning to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (195 kph).
Florence had reached Category 3 strength earlier Monday, but data from hurricane hunter aircraft indicate the storm is quickly getting stronger as it moves over warm Atlantic waters.