All eyes turning to Florence

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Main Threats

No major threats in sight for our area.

Summary

One thing is for certain, all eyes are on Florence this week! More on this in the tropical section below.

As for those of us on the plateau, expect this pesky line of showers to work its way out of here as we go through the rest of this morning. We have picked up 0.28″ since midnight here at weatherTAP and we have picked up 1.39″ in the past 24 hours. That’s not too shabby! Some of us were starting to get dry and it was nice to see a good rain move in, even if it was over part of our weekend.

Below is the current radar view at 8:45, showing that slow-moving line of showers moving across the plateau.

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Once this front washed out today, we will see only isolated shower/storm chances the next couple of days. Then, the influence of Florence will start to weigh heavily on our forecast. More on this in the tropical section below.

Tropics

As mentioned above, all eyes are on Florence this morning. The storm strengthened overnight, as expected, and is now a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds just over 100 mph. A hurricane is labeled “major” when it reaches category 3 status, with winds at or over 111 mph. Florence is expected to top out at a category 4 storm, with winds of 150 mph. That is a high-end category 4, with cat 5 starting at winds of 156 mph. The eastern seaboard has not been hit by a cat 4 hurricane since Hugo in 1988 hit South Carolina.

At this time, the storm is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Carolina coast, with models seeming to trend a bit northward. I wouldn’t be surprised if landfall ends up being closer to Virginia Beach. That is my next point, we are still a few days from landfall and timing, intensity, and forecast location are all subject to change.

The storm is expected to be nearing the coastline by late Wednesday night, with a landfall sometime Thursday. Again, all this could change between now and then, so stay tuned.

At this time, we do not expect any direct, adverse influences from Florence here on the plateau. That, too, could change. We are dealing with an unprecedented situation here so forecasting is a bit trickier. We have never had a hurricane hit the eastern seaboard from this latitude. They always come up from a more southern point. With that being said, we hadn’t seen a “Sandy” before Sandy hit, so odd things do happen.

I will be watching this very closely this week, so if you have any questions or concerns just ask. When a hurricane hits the eastern seaboard we find ourselves on the back side of the storm here on the plateau. This means northerly breezes that are cooler and drier. This often gives us very pleasant weather.

Pictured below is weatherTAP’s wind model, showing Florence strengthening into a very impressive hurricane. We expect Florence to become a major hurricane today.

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I will mention here that I had a really good question this morning. The National Hurricane Center shows either an “S”, “H”, or “M” on the hurricane symbol on their map. Those stand for Storm (tropical storm), Hurricane or Major hurricane. A major hurricane is anything cat 3 (>111 mph) or higher. An example of what I’m referring to is seen below.

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I will also mention that we have two other hurricanes out in the Atlantic. Isaac may be one to watch as he nears the Caribbean next weekend. Helene is expected to curve out to sea. Please see image below.

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Records

Interestingly, the records for today involve Florence. No, this isn’t the Florence we’re talking about today. Remember, we recycle hurricane names ever six year, unless one is so bad that the name must be retired. On this day in 1988, the remnants of Florence passed into the South after crossing over New Orleans. The storm had been a cat 1 hurricane in the Gulf but weakened as it passed over New Orleans. The highest wind gust in the city was 61 mph. An oil rig out in the Gulf, however, recorded wind gusts to 80 mph. I have a feeling the name Florence will be retired after this one in 2018. She’s back and this time she’s a lot meaner, folks.

I also noticed that this week is the anniversary of the Great Atlantic hurricane of 1944. It made landfall near Virginia Beach and moved up into New England. In the end, over 400 people had lost their lives. This makes one wonder if Florence will take a similar path.

Other notable hurricane anniversaries for this day…..

On this day in 1919 a hurricane struck the Florida Keys. By the time this hurricane moved out, at least 500 people had drowned.

In 1960, Hurricane Donna swept into the Florida Keys with winds gusting to 180 mph. The storm then moved north along the east coast and ravaged the state of Florida. Then, the storm hugged the eastern seaboard, producing wind gusts to 121 mph at Charleston, SC. The storm even made it to Maine! They had wind gusts to 100 mph. Blue Hill Observatory in Massachusetts had a wind gust to 138 mph! Folks still talk about Donna to this day.

Below is the path of Donna. See how it hugged the East Coast? Geez….

Donna_1960_track

Stay tuned about Florence. She’s one to watch, folks.

You all have a great day!

2 thoughts on “All eyes turning to Florence

  1. It’s something to keep an eye on, Scarlett, for sure. It’s just too far out in time to know exactly what is going to happen. At least they’re inland somewhat with Richmond. That always helps out a lot. I just hope it doesn’t come in closer to Virginia Beach. Just tell them to listen to emergency management folks and always do what they say. That’s the most important part. And, if I were them, I would go ahead and get things needed in a storm (food, water, etc) before EVERYONE else does. I hope this helps, Scarlett! Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns.

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