Florence continues its trek toward the U.S. East Coast. It lost some of its punch this morning, but that will only be a temporary thing. It is beginning to pick up its forward speed and re-strengthening is expected today.
During the next couple of days, small fluctuations in intensity are expected, but Florence will remain an extremely dangerous hurricane, headed toward the Carolinas. The yellowish area on the map below is the potential path for Florence. So areas from South Carolina to Virginia could see a direct hit. Southern New England will not see a direct hit from Florence.
The storm will be moving over very warm water Wednesday and Thursday. Water temperatures are 84-85° in its path! Florence may actually strengthen into a Category 5 hurricane with winds greater than 155 mph sometime Wednesday.
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If you have loved ones or property in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland, it’s important to understand that the exact path of Florence doesn’t really matter. Catastrophic rains, wind and storm surge will impact a large region.
Hurricane Watches have been issued for the areas where hurricane conditions are expected, but again, devastating effects will be felt even will inland. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are all under a state of emergency.
Rainfall amounts could total 1 to 3 feet!!! That’ll lead to catastrophic flooding. The atmospheric steering patterns vanish after Florence makes landfall and the storm will stall. Flash flooding is possible, roads and bridges could be washed out and many homes will flood.
The actual landfall is anticipated late Thursday night or early Friday morning, perhaps near Wilmington, NC. Winds could be as strong as 130 mph at landfall. Homes and businesses around the center of the storm will have severe damage and thousands of trees and power lines will fall. Again, it is not important to concentrate on where Florence makes landfall, catastrophic impacts will be felt across a wide area.
Locally, our surf will be building and dangerous rip currents are expected.
– Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo