The latest forecasted track of Hurricane Florence shows the storm taking a turn and heading back toward South Carolina, rather than going farther into North Carolina when it reaches the coast, as previously expected.
According to Michael Stroz, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Charleston, the Category 4 storm is expected to stall along the coastline, and while stalling, “atmospheric conditions” around the storm are expected to push it southwest.
Imagine the storm is like a spinning top, Stroz said.
Once a top is released and starts spinning, it may hover in place and can wobble in any direction. According to the latest models by the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence is expected to hover off the coast, and then wobble back toward South Carolina.
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That turn is expected to happen late Thursday or early Friday, he said.
The exact track of the storm, however, is still uncertain.
“Don’t focus on the track line,” Stroz said. “Look at the overall scheme of things.”
Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Wednesday morning in a Facebook Live on the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center page that the center of the storm could still hit anywhere within the cone — which includes Beaufort County and Hilton Head.
Even if it doesn’t, the area could still feel the impacts of the massive storm, Stroz said.
“This storm certainly has some teeth to it,” he said. “It can cause quite a bit of problems. Make sure you’re prepared.”
He said if the storm continues on this path, Beaufort County could start to feel the impacts this weekend.
Lower-end tropical storm force winds — about 30-35 mph — could come as early as Thursday, Mike Emlaw of the National Weather Service in Charleston told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.
At this time, no hurricane watch has been issued for Beaufort County.