UPDATE: Hurricane Florence crawling toward the Carolinas, coastal water levels rising

Hurricane Florence nears the coast of the Carolinas, Sept. 13, 2018 as a Category 2 storm.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Hurricane Florence’s forward speed has slowed to 5 mph as it approaches the Carolinas as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center warns that water levels are rising along portions of the North Carolina coast.

The storm is about 105 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C.

A NOAA observing site at Cape Lookout, N.C. reported a sustained wind of 68 mph and a gust to 85 mph this afternoon. A private weather station in Davis, N.C. reported a sustained wind of 61 mph and gust to 67  mph.

PREVIOUS STORY: Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds, is forecast to reach the coastline of the Carolinas early Friday morning with little strengthening expected before landfall.

The track of the storm is finally showing a strong hook to the northeast but not until late Sunday into Monday as steering winds collapse. That means means Florence could sit over areas for 24 hours dumping up to 20 inches of rain in coastal North Carolina.

As of the 8 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Florence was 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C.

RELATED: Hurricane hunters find cloud canyon in Florence’s eye

“Florence dominates the waters with dangerous life-threatening marine conditions this period, as it nearly stalls near Cape Fear, and drifts slowly toward the soutwest along the southeast North Carolina coasts,” wrote National Weather Service meteorologists in Wilmington, N.C. about the forecast Friday and Saturday. “Unless the weakening is rapid, hurricane force-winds can be expected all of Friday.”

Hurricane center forecasters warn that as Florence’s wind speeds weaken, the storm size increases. This morning, hurricane force-winds now extend up to 80 miles from the center of the storm with tropical storm-force winds out 195 miles.

Life threatening storm surge and “catastrophic” flash flooding is possible with this storm, the NHC wrote in a Tweet this morning.

There are now four named storms in the Atlantic basin with subtropical storm Joyce named Wednesday, and two areas of disturbed weather with chances of development.

RELATED: What makes Hurricane Florence so dangerous to South Florida?

The last time four named storms spun at the same time was in 2008, according to Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Klotzbach said since records began, there has never been five named storms in the Atlantic with wind speeds of 39 mph or higher (tropical storm force).

Joyce is no threat to land. It is expected to take a similar track as Hurricane Helene to the northeast.

The hurricane center is also tracking Isaac, which remains a tropical storm about 100  miles east of Dominica. The storm is weakening and could become a depression in a few days, but some models have it restrengthening in the western Caribbean, according to the NHC.

“However, the predictability of such an event is too low to explicitly show in the forecast at this point,” the NHC wrote in its 5 a.m. advisory.

Previous story: As the outer rainbands of Hurricane Florence swipe up against the coast of North Carolina, forecasters are warning of possible life-threatening storm surges and flooding.

If the storm, now a Category 2, arrives during high tide, the water could rise up to 13 feet along parts of the North Carolina coast. That area also could be hit with up to 40 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center.

FULL COVERAGE: Latest Hurricane Florence stories

By 5 a.m. today, the storm was about 205 miles east/southeast of Wilmington, N.C. with 110-mph maximum sustained winds.

It is moving at 15 miles per hour and is expected to slow down later tonight.

Hurricane force winds extend outward of up to 80 miles from its center.

CHECK The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map