Hurricane Florence has sent surf to long swaths of the East Coast as it undertook a prolonged, meandering march across the Atlantic this week. But the pleasure brought to surf communities from south Florida to the Big Apple by the storm's early fetch, dissipated quickly as Florence strengthened, grew, and tracked a direct path toward the Carolinas.
How big is Florence? Astronauts had to use a "super-wide" angle lens in order to capture the breadth of the storm, according to a tweet from European astronaut Alexander Gerst.
As the huge and erratic Florence threatens to make landfall on the Carolina coast Friday afternoon into Saturday, it'll do so as a strong Category 2 storm, bringing with it sustained winds of 75 miles an hour or greater, roughly 10 trillion gallons of rainfall and storm surges as high as 13 feet to an area that stretches from northern North Carolina to northern Georgia.
Florence is expected to slow and linger, which could be bad news for renowned surf towns like Cape Hatteras and Wrightsville Beach.
"With Florence slowing down in it's current location, that's not what we want," famed OBX surfer Brett Barley said on Instagram. "Hang on Hatteras peeps!! This thing's got some serious power.
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Hurricane Florence and it's first big High Tide surge with rapidly building swell, down in Hatteras Village. – The Diamond Shoals buoy is building by the hour, and currently 26ft @ 14seconds of serious SE swell. With Florence slowing down in it's current location, that's not what we want. – Hang on Hatteras peeps!! This thing's got some serious power.
As of 11am EST this morning fierce winds and rain had already shown on the east coast, as Florence was roughly 145 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. SC Gov. Henry McMaster directed more than a million residents to evacuate, warning that for those who didn't, "no one will come and save them."
Stay safe out there East Coasters. We'll update this story as more information becomes available.