8 Things on Hurricane Florence

Articles, Weather

Here’s a simple, quick 8 Things on Hurricane Florence

What is it?

Hurricane Florence is currently a Category 4 storm located approximately 1200 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are 130 mph with higher gusts.

Where’s it going?

The current forecast track has Flo pegged to move generally westward for the next few hours before turning west-northwest or northwest. Models are in good agreement that landfall is expected somewhere between the central SC coast to the southern Outer Banks.

Here’s a gif of the NHC forecast maps over the last several advisories:

How strong will it be?

Well, that’s the tricky part. The most advisory package from the NHC didn’t have Flo reaching Category 4 strength until tonight. A hurricane hunter aircraft forced the NHC to bump the storm to Cat 4 strength at noon. Rapid intensification has occurred over the last 12 hours or so with nothing significant in the way to stop it. Flo may reach Cat 5 strength within 24 hours. Some minor weakening may occur just prior to landfall as the storm begins interacting with land, but it’ll still be a very dangerous system.

You keep talking about landfall. When is that?

Current projections place the center of Flo moving onshore north of Wilmington on Thursday evening. However, tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive on the NC coast as early as Thursday morning. Those conditions will reach the Triad by Thu evening, prior to the storm coming ashore.

time of arrival graphic

We’ve seen hurricanes, Moose. This one is no different, right?

Well, yes and no. North Carolina has taken on significant storms, yes. However, NC has not had a storm at Cat 4 strength upon landfall since Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954. That storm was devastating and the current forecast projection has Flo at or greater than Hazel’s strength. Of note, too, is that Hazel moved mainly north to south. Florence may penetrate farther inland.

…..um, alright. Sooooo, what exactly are we talking about here, impacts wise?

Flooding from hurricanes is most significant threat. This one is no different. Could see rainfall amounts between 10-20″ in some areas of the state, primarily due to the likelihood that Florence hangs around a little bit after landfall. Significant and catastrophic flooding appears likely, even in areas that may have not flooded in recent memory.

Sustained winds at locations near landfall could approach 140 mph with hurricane-force winds reaching well inland. Plenty of downed trees and power lines will likely lead to prolonged power outages. Significant damage to residential properties.

Storm surge at the coast will be insane, with the worst occurring Thu and Fri. It’s too early to tell exactly where the most significant surge impacts will be located.

Oh, and tornadoes are possible. Can’t forget the tornadoes.

Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them. But it also doesn’t help when the most recent forecast by one of the most sophisticated weather models on the planet (GFS) looks like this:

Make America(n Weather Modeling) Great Again!

What about our football games this weekend?

Well, maybe make other plans. Living is neat.

What should we do to prepare?

Well, if you’re near the coast, leave. Now, preferably.

If you’re farther inland, stock up on batteries, water, fuel, canned goods. Find a battery-operated radio.

If you have a generator that you plan to use, make sure that sucker works.

Charge your cell phones, inform your loved ones of where you’re going, if you’re going anywhere. Check on your neighbors.

Stay up to date on the latest forecasts. We’re still a few days out from this event and plenty of things can change.