Here are the latest developments, via the New York Times:
• As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the center of the storm was in the Atlantic Ocean about 530 miles from Cape Fear, N.C. Follow the hurricane’s path here.
• The storm’s maximum sustained winds had eased slightly to 130 miles an hour by Wednesday morning, but forecasters warned it was expected to strengthen later in the day. (It would be upgraded to Category 5 if the winds increased to 157 m.p.h.)
• In addition to powerful winds, a huge, “life-threatening storm surge” is highly likely on the low-lying coasts of North and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center has predicted.
• Once it is ashore, Florence’s drenching rains may cause “catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding” over a wide area of the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic states, the hurricane center said. Some spots on the coast could receive as much as 40 inches of rain.