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Main Threats

No major threats in sight


We will continue to see pleasant conditions today, with partly cloudy skies. By tomorrow, a weak disturbance may bring us a passing shower, but it’s nothing to cancel any outdoor plans over. We go right back into a pleasant pattern for Friday and Saturday, though it will be a bit warm in the afternoons.

By Sunday, we may see some influence from Florence. That just all depends on the track. This is an every-changing situation, so stay tuned. I have much more on this in the tropical section below.


It would be the understatement of the year to say that all eyes are on the tropics this morning. If there’s any good news, it’s that Florence did not reach category 5 status last night. Instead, she focused more on attaining her powerful cat 4 status and expanding in size. That just means that her influence will be felt at a much farther distance.

Hurricane force extend out 70 miles from the center. That means a 140-mile swatch of hurricane damage. The tropical storm force winds extend out 175 miles from the center. This makes Florence a nearly 400-mile wide storm.

The storm continues on a westward track and we are now certain that she will make landfall along the Carolina coast. Evacuations are in full throttle. This will be the worst storm to hit the Carolinas in decades. Should Florence come ashore in North Carolina with winds greater than 130 mph, she will be the most powerful land-falling hurricane in North Caroline history (as far as records go).

The storm is being steered by a strong area of high pressure to its north. This steering will persist through today and tomorrow. After that, the steering currents drop to nearly nothing. That is the greatest problem facing forecasters. Unfortunately, that steering drops off just as the hurricane reaches the coastline. That means there’s nothing strong enough to really shove it inland. So, what will it do? That’s the million dollar question that millions of people in the Carolinas are needing an answer to.

As for Virginia….things look better for them this morning. Yesterday, the storm was expected to pull a bit north after landfall and drop 15-20+ inches of rain on that state. This morning, those rainfall totals are looking about half as bad. That’s still a problem for them, but not as big of a problem as it looked like yesterday. The greater threat may be storm surge along the coast, especially if Florence stalls out and just keeps shoving water inland.

So, what if a cat 4 hurricane just hugs the coast? That is the worst case scenario. Imagine if Katrina had stalled out over the Gulf Coast. That is a scenario no one wants to see.

The new path poses a challenge for those of us in Tennessee, too. Now, the impacts of the remnants may bring us some rain and gusty winds next week. We’ll just have to watch things and see.

Look at how enormous this storm is now! Also, notice the remnants may push into southeast TN early next week.


In other tropical news….

We still have a disturbance in the Gulf that may develop into a storm before striking Texas. That system is looking more disorganized this morning, so hopefully it won’t develop.

We now have a disturbance right behind Florence, though Florence may consume that one.

We still have another disturbance northeast of Florence. It bears watching.

Then, there’s Tropical Storm Isaac, who is still heading into the Caribbean. He needs to be watched.

Then, there’s Hurricane Helene. Thankfully, she’s curving out to sea. I know, it’s rude of her not to visit but we won’t hold it against her. We have enough company already!

That’s probably about as busy as you’ll ever see the hurricane map. I’m not sure we can fit anyone else in! Everything but Helene is moving westward in some way.


We’ll skip the records section, as I have a lot going on this morning (as you can imagine).

Keep in mind that weatherTAP is free for everyone through the weekend. Just use “florence” as the username and password. That’s it! It’s just a little something we want to do to try to keep everyone safe and informed about Florence.

You all have a great day and don’t forget to keep the millions of people in the path of this storm in your thoughts and prayers. Keep them close to your heart. They’re about to face some really, really tough times. If you’re here on the plateau, take a moment and be thankful for what you have today and for this beautiful weather we have outside. We should have no complaints here today, folks.

I snapped this while stuck in traffic on Hwy 127 this morning. I started to get aggravated until I looked up. And then I thought about all the people stuck in evacuation traffic. We should have no complaints today, folks.


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A pleasant forecast period….for us


Main Threats

No major threats in sight….for us


We are on track for a very pleasant stretch of weather. The only “fly in the ointment” would be some possible isolated showers on Thursday (maybe a storm?). The same is true for Friday. Most of us will stay dry this week.

Depending on the track of Florence, Saturday may be a breezy but dry day. The only impact of Florence up to that point would be some breezy conditions.


All eyes remain on a very powerful and dangerous Hurricane Florence. She has weakened slightly to 140 mph (still cat 4), but this weakening trend is temporary. Hurricanes go through eyewall replacement cycles. For whatever reason, the eye collapses and is replaced by a new one. It’s a cycle that we do not fully understand. It’s similar to how tornadoes often cycle with supercells. One touches down, stays on the ground a while, then lifts, only to be replaced in time by a new tornado. It’s a cycle and we don’t understand these cycles very well.

When a hurricane goes through an eyewall replacement cycle two things tend to happen. Initially, the hurricane weakens as the cycle takes place. Then, the hurricane restrengthens with the new eye, and sometimes the hurricane is even stronger with this new eye. If that happens, and many of us think it will, Florence will become a very rare category 5 hurricane, with winds greater than 155 mph.

That does not mean she will come ashore as a cat 5. That has only happened three times in recorded U.S. hurricane history. The Florida Keys hurricane of 1935, Camille in 1969, and Andrew in 1992 are the only cat 5s to have hit the U.S. mainland. Florence is expected to weaken before landfall, but we’re not sure if that will make her a cat 4 or cat 3. If she makes landfall with winds greater than 130 mph, which is certainly possible, she will be the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in North Carolina. That is alarming.

Florence has doubled in physical size since yesterday. That is also alarming. This means her effects will be far-reaching and well beyond the center of circulation. Flooding will be catastrophic and unlike anything many places in the Carolinas and Virginia have ever seen.  With hurricanes, it’s not about the wind, folks, it’s all about the water. I still have no idea why we focus on the wind so much when it’s the inland flooding that always steals the headlines and kills the most people.

I’ll be tracking Florence. Right now, we’re looking for landfall near the Outer Banks Thursday night.

She sure is something to see on satellite this morning.


She’s not alone…

We have another disturbance entering the southern Gulf today and that, too, will likely become a tropical storm or hurricane as it crosses the Gulf and heads for Texas. Let’s hope the headlines are not so stolen by Florence that no one pays attention to this one in the Gulf. It will be Joyce if it becomes a named storm. That is the area of cloudiness you see in the satellite image above in the southern Gulf.

That’s not all…

There’s still Isaac. He has been downgraded to a tropical storm as he moves toward the Caribbean. He’s one to keep an eye on, too.

Then there’s Hurricane Helene. She’s on track to become a major hurricane today, as she spins out to sea.

There’s more…

We now have another disturbance that will likely become a tropical storm today or tomorrow. It’s way out in the Atlantic but it is moving southwest. God forbid this system gets steered inland by Florence.

That’s about as busy as the map gets, folks. We are indeed in the peak of hurricane season.


Special Announcement

Due to Florence and her tremendous impact expected in the U.S., weatherTAP will be absolutely FREE this week and weekend. This will allow anyone access to everything they could possibly need to track Florence and stay safe. The username is Florence, as well as the password. Please let me know if you have any questions. This offer starts now.


Nashville recorded their latest 100-degree temperature on this day in 1983. That is HOT for this late in September!

On this day in 1989 a hail storm in the mountains of California caused quite the stir. The hail accumulated to two inches in depth (it was small hail) and that made roads slick and hazardous. This resulted in a 20-car pile-up near Donner Summit.


Today is, of course, September 11th. I pulled up the weather map for that day in 2001. High pressure was in control and skies were big, blue and beautiful. It was supposed to be an absolutely beautiful fall-like day.



You all have a great day. I’ll keep you posted on the tropics!

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Cat 4

Rapid intensification is underway and Florence is already a cat 4, with winds of 130 mph. Rapid intensification continues and it will be very interesting to see how strong this storm gets, folks. Stay tuned.

Below is video from Hurricane Hunters investigating the storm this morning. Wouldn’t you love to be on that plane?! If the video doesn’t work for you here, I’ve also shared it on weatherTAP social media (

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Florence now a major hurricane

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has now upgraded Florence to a major hurricane, with winds of 115 mph. The track remains unchanged from this morning.

Notice the cone reaches into East TN. I’m just not sure that will verify. These systems always curve northward before reaching this far west. With that being said, this is an unusual storm and nothing is off the table.


The NHC’s wording is getting more dire.

"The bottom line is that there is increasing
confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous
hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity."

As well as these key messages from the NHC
"Key Messages:

1. A life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the
coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, and
a Storm Surge Watch will likely be issued for some of these areas by
Tuesday morning. All interests from South Carolina into the
mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in
place and follow any advice given by local officials.

2. Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged
and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over
the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is
expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.

3. Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the
coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Watch
will likely be issued by Tuesday morning. Damaging winds could also
spread well inland into portions of the Carolinas and Virginia."

This is the view from the International Space Station...