Hurricane Florence now a Category 3, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

Hurricane Florence has gotten a little bit weaker but it remains a very large and dangerous storm.

Hurricane Florence is so enormous, we could only capture it with a super wide-angle lens from the Space Station, 248 miles directly above the eye. (Alexander Gerst / ESA)

At 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph.

It’s a potentially catastrophic Category 3 storm with 125 mph maximum sustained winds.

Fuctuations in strength are expected through Thursday, and the hurricane is still expected to be “an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears” the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday, the hurricane center told CNN.

Some fluctuations in strength are expected through Thursday morning. Florence will weaken once it stops drawing energy from warm ocean waters, but it’s still expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday as an extremely dangerous major hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center says a buoy about 100 miles northeast of Florence’s eye has clocked hurricane-force wind gusts and sustained winds of 53 mph.

Florence is the most dangerous of three tropical systems in the Atlantic. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.