UPDATE 12 noon
Florence is rapidly strengthening. Just one hour after posting a Category 3 status and 115mph winds, the National Weather Service has upgraded Florence to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph sustained winds. This is an unusual upgrade in just one hours time. It also is worth noting that Florence was just a Tropical Storm less than 18 hours ago.
In the 11am update, the National Weather Service has elevated Hurricane Florence to 'Major' status with sustained winds of 115 MPH.
The current center of the storm track continues to point toward landfall in North Carolina between Wilmington and Jacksonville
Expected strength at landfall will be as a Category 4, or a very strong Category 3 storm. Landfall will occur Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Evacuations have already begun in parts of North Carolina. You can find more on that here.
Governor Northam has declared a State Of Emergency in Virginia.
For the first time, the Roanoke/Lynchburg area is in the wind field maps, predicting a 50-60% chance of Tropical Storm Force winds this weekend.
Rainfall amounts for the Roanoke/Lynchburg area are still uncertain as the exact track of the storm, along with any potential stall over our area will determine just how much rain we may get. If the storm were to stall, rainfall amounts in excess of 10 inches are very possible. Rain could linger into Monday.
This is a developing story, refresh for updates.
From the National Weather Service
Hazardous Weather Outlook
Hazardous Weather Outlook National Weather Service Blacksburg VA 559 AM EDT Mon Sep 10 2018
This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for north central North Carolina, northwest North Carolina, central Virginia, south central Virginia, southwest Virginia, west central Virginia and southeast West Virginia.
.DAY ONE...Today and tonight.
There is a low probability for widespread hazardous weather. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected, especially west of the Blue Ridge. A few of these could produce very heavy rainfall resulting in localized flooding as the ground remains saturated from previous heavy rainfall in many areas.
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Tuesday through Sunday.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected each day. Through Thursday, a few of these could produce locally heavy rainfall each day, mainly during the afternoon and evening, resulting in localized flooding.
Looking toward the end of the week, there is increasing potential that Hurricane Florence will move inland along the South Carolina or North Carolina coast line, then track slowly west to northwest into western North Carolina, then potentially stall or meander about the western North Carolina, southwest Virginia, eastern Tennessee area for several days into early next week. While confidence in this scenario is increasing, there remains much uncertainty in a specific forecast and it will be later this week before such details are better known and can be refined. However, the currently projected scenario could result in catastrophic flooding rainfall across the mountains of western North Carolina, western Virginia, and eastern West Virginia. Strong and gusty winds could also impact much of the forecast area late this week and into the weekend, and last for a considerable length of time as well causing damage to trees and power lines. It is imperative that all residents of the forecast area closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence and remain abreast of the latest forecasts, watches, and warnings issued throughout the week. Please continue to monitor the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center and local National Weather Service forecast offices over the next several days.
.@JimCantore earlier this morning on @AMHQ— Greg Diamond (@gdimeweather) September 10, 2018
"It is this whole area...that could see anywhere from 10 to 40 inches of rain and I'm gonna call it right now, if that forecast verifies just like that...I hope it's only 40"#Florence pic.twitter.com/SBoYIsxaIH
9/10 11 AM EDT: The earliest reasonable time that tropical-storm-force winds will reach the coast of the Carolinas is Wednesday night, but the most likely time is Thursday morning. #Florence https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/kzKpHv9o6J— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 10, 2018