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How Hurricane Florence will impact us locally as it strengthens to Category 4

(WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- All eyes are on Hurricane Florence as the storm heads for the East Coast.

Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, in preparation of the storm.

We’re getting more confident in the forecast data, and it’s not good news for Virginia or Carolinas as rain totals could be over five inches as heavy rain moves across the viewing area.

Florence will continue to strengthen into a major hurricane, as of 12 p.m. Monday, it is already a category 4, and it’s highly likely to slam into the Carolinas.

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The center of circulation will be moving onshore Thursday night or Friday morning depending on forward speed of the storm.

As expected, Florence is strengthening over the warm, Gulf Stream water.

Sea surface temps are in the upper 80s.

For us, heavy rain and flash flooding will likely be a concern locally (Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke area.)

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WIND

Local gusts of 40 to 50 mph are possible. Wind speed would be stronger in mountains due to higher elevation and also Southside as it’s closer to the storm.

Downed trees and power lines are likely-especially with the ground already being saturated. We'll have to monitor for power outages.

WIND DIRECTION

Strongest wind would blow in from NW, N or NE.

RAIN AMOUNTS

Uncertain as it depends on if hurricane stalls over Carolinas.

At the moment, thinking totals over 5 inches are easily possible. If it stalls, totals could exceed 10 inches. Significant flash flooding could occur, especially in/near mountains.

The exact track of Florence will determine just how much heavy rain we will see locally.

If we see a track more to the north and east, locally we would see less in the way of impacts.

A track that is more south and west of us would enhance our rain, wind and severe threat.

TIMING (FOR OUR AREA)

Strongest wind is Friday and Saturday.

Heaviest rain will be late Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Rain could continue beyond Sunday.

FOOTBALL FRIDAY

If you want to play this week, reschedule high school football games for no later than Thursday night. Wednesday would be best game day. Don’t do Friday.

More updates coming, and the forecast will continue to become more precise as we near landfall.

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