Hurricane Florence, which is being described as a potentially catastrophic monster cyclone and the “storm of a lifetime,” is bearing down on the Carolinas.

‘‘Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in,’’ a grim North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a briefing Wednesday.

Major evacuations are taking place, and dire projections are being generated by forecasters as they scramble to inform people so they can stay safe from a storm that will bring high winds, a powerful storm surge, and intense rain.

Here’s the storm by the (terrifying) numbers.


83 feet

The size of waves whipped up by a rampaging Florence out in the open ocean, as measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (In the open ocean, deeper water makes for bigger waves.) Imagine 2½ Boston triple-deckers stacked on top of each other, and you’ll get an idea of how big those waves were.

Up to 13 feet, or more than a story high

The size of the storm surge — the amount of rise in seawater above normally dry land at the coast — if the storm’s maximum surge combines with high tide. Some experts say it could be up to 20 feet.

A storm surge prediction map
A storm surge prediction map

40 inches

The possible amount of rain in some areas of the Carolinas. Forecasters say 15 to 25 inches are possible, with isolated areas getting 40.

Florence “will remain right near the coastline and just slowly move inland after it makes landfall, Accuweather.com meteorologist Allen Reppert said. It will dump rain for days, while drawing moisture from the ocean.

111 to 156 miles per hour

Florence is expected to make landfall near the North Carolina/South Carolina border as a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane, which would mean its winds would be 111 to 156 miles per hour. Here’s a video that shows the possible effects.

1.7 million people

More than 1.7 million people have been warned to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings cover about 5.5 million residents.


4 Ohios

The size of the swirling cloud field formed by the storm.

A NOAA satellite image of Florence.
A NOAA satellite image of Florence.NOAA

2.7 million customers

A power outage model developed at the University of Michigan projected Wednesday morning that this many electric customers would lose service because of the storm.

62 hours of tropical-storm-force wind gusts

The National Weather Service says the storm could bring 62 hours of such gusts and, in some areas, 24 straight hours of hurricane-force gusts.

Less than 48 hours

The time before Florence makes landfall. Here’s a picture of the relative calm before the storm.

Surf rolled in near Cape Point on Hatteras Island, N.C., while a couple of people who stayed behind drank it all in.
Surf rolled in near Cape Point on Hatteras Island, N.C., while a couple of people who stayed behind drank it all in.Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via Associated Press

John R. Ellement and Emily Sweeney of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.