Hurricane Florence achieved "category two" status on the Saffir-Simpson Scale early Monday morning. Top sustained winds are up to 105 m.p.h. with higher gusts. Very little wind shear and a warm Gulf Stream in the path of the storm will likely allow additional intensification.
The forecast for Florence is problematic because it is expected to come ashore on the part of North Carolina that has a concave coast.
Depending on the exact course of the storm, that could "cup" the storm surge, possibly inundating land several miles inland. The right side of the storm track (drawn as a red line on our maps) is where the worst wind and storm surge happens.
There are simulations that have a 10-15 feet wall of water coming ashore with winds up to 140 m.p.h. This would produce damage similar to or worse than the historic Hurricane Hugo that came into South Carolina in 1989.
The intense storm is expected to come ashore sometime Thursday night.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen