83-foot wave measured by satellite as Hurricane Florence approaches

The National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch.

The National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch measured wave heights up to 83 feet as Hurricane Florence makes its way to the east coast. 

The NHC posted on Twitter Wednesday and said the massive waves were measured by satellite.  

"These enormous waves are produced by being trapped along with very strong winds moving in the same direction the storm's motion."

Hurricane Florence weakened to Category 2 storm overnight, but with sustained winds of 110 mph, it was within 1 mph of Category 3 and the wind field is expanding.

Latest developments:

• Fierce winds and rain have started: "Rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds (are) moving onshore on the outer banks of North Carolina," the National Hurricane Center said. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 mph.

• Florence is getting closer: As of 8 ET Thursday morning, the center of Florence was about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

• The path of the storm: Florence's center will approach the North and South Carolina coasts late Thursday and Friday, but it's unclear exactly when and where and it will make landfall. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland will also be in peril.

• Storm surge is a huge threat: Strong winds will send rising water inland from the coastline of the Carolinas. The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet -- that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said.

• Flight cancellations: At least 800 flights along the US East Coast have been canceled Thursday through Saturday ahead of the storm.

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