Published 8:45 PM EDT Sep 12, 2018
The weird saga of Hurricane Florence, which has already carved an unprecedented path across the Atlantic, is forecast to persist with a strange stall and trek along the Southeast coast.
Instead of roaring ashore and quickly heading inland and weakening, as most storms do, Hurricane Florence should instead "stall near the coast and then parallel southwestward toward Georgia," Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Postel said. "I've never seen anything like this."
AccuWeather meteorologist Marshall Moss said Florence's track is unique. "It was located farther north in the Atlantic than any other storm to ever hit the Carolinas, so what we’re forecasting is unprecedented," Moss said.
Also, most storms coming into the Carolinas tend to move northward, and this storm looks like it’s going to stall over the region, Moss added.
Weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue said "the entire coastline from the Virginia border to Savannah, Georgia, should be on alert."
What's forecast to happen is that the winds steering Florence will collapse for a while, slowing the storm's forward speed to a crawl as its center spins near the coast from Thursday night into Friday, according to the Weather Channel.
Though its forward speed should slow, Florence's strong winds of at least 100 mph will continue. It will be a dangerous, formidable hurricane along the Southeast Coast beginning late Thursday night and last through the day on Friday, bringing howling winds and pounding surf to coastal areas.
Coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds and storm surge, not for a few hours, but possibly a couple of days, AccuWeather said.
More: 'Storm of a lifetime' will bring dangerous storm surge, extreme winds and torrents of rain
More: Track Hurricane Florence
More: 'Take your pets with you' to keep them safe during and after Hurricane Florence
While it sits and spins, the heavy rain Florence unleashes will lead to "catastrophic" and "life-threatening" flooding in the Carolinas. Widespread reports of 20 to 30 inches of rain are likely, and some spots could see 40 inches.
As if that weren't enough "isolated tornadoes will become a threat Thursday along the North Carolina coast," the National Weather Service in Wilmington said.
However, beyond that, "the forecast after 72 hours is certainly a challenge ... and a nightmare," Maue said.
The winds that push Florence around could remain weak until Saturday, when an area of high pressure that's building over the Midwest could shove Florence west into the Southeast the rest of the weekend, the Weather Channel said.
The weather service in Wilmington predicted "a dangerous weekend across the area and preparations should be underway right now."