Hurricane Florence Forecast Update – Impacts Begin Tomorrow

Florence remains to be a powerful category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. Some weakening has occurred today, but there will be one last window tonight and early tomorrow for Florence to have another shot at strengthening a bit before its center begins to reach the southern North Carolina/northern South Carolina coasts.

This will be a very brief article on some of the slight modifications that I made to my forecast.

The first image below shows the official track and cone of uncertainty from the National Hurricane Center. Their latest forecast has Florence making landfall along the southern coast of North Carolina before moving into South Carolina. I plotted their forecast on a county map, so that you can see it a bit better.

hurricane florence track

hurricane florence track county map

The Weather Prediction Center’s latest rainfall forecast indicates that 20+ inches of rain will fall along and just inland from the southern North Carolina/northern South Carolina coasts. Some regions could exceed 40 inches of rain. For those in any region that is forecasted to get around or above 4 to 6 inches of rain, take special note. The flooding situation that evolves will be the big story with Florence.

hurricane florence rainfall forecast

I made no changes to my landfall forecast from last night. It’s within the realm of possibilities that Florence could skirt southwest along the South Carolina coast once interacting with land, but I decided not to account for a possible second landfall that might occur. Getting into very technical details likely won’t change the overall impacts anyway.

hurricane florence landfall forecast

I made some modifications to my impacts map. I extended the pink zone, the region where I believe impacts could be severe, farther northeast along the North Carolina coast. Even though a landfall should occur farther southward, high storm surge will likely be very high well-away from the storm’s center to the right. I made no modifications to the pink zone in South Carolina. I’m not confident enough at this point that Florence won’t attempt to make a turn southwestward along the South Carolina coast. If I gain more confidence that for some reason that won’t occur, I’ll modify that part of the forecast tomorrow.

hurricane florence impacts map

Other than that, I trimmed back some of the red zone, the region where I believe at least some impacts could occur, for parts of Virginia. I made some subtle changes across Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia to include additional locations. Generally, the red region is where I believe tropical storm-force winds (or gusts) and/or flooding will occur. Since Florence is quite large and will slow significantly, that accounts for some of why that region is so large.

Please stayed updated on Firsthand Weather for future updates.

Hurricane Florence Likely To Be Catastrophic For Parts of the Carolina Coast

After Florence’s recent eyewall replacement cycle, it has re-strengthened into a 140 mph hurricane. Strengthening is expected to continue, given that vertical wind shear will be weak, sea surface temperatures will be more than sufficiently warm, and little dry air will be present to mix into Florence’s core. In an effort to answer many unanswered questions, I’ve made a couple of maps. Let me briefly explain what they mean.

The first map includes where I believe Florence will be making its (first) landfall. Some southern shifts in track could occur; thus, I’ve included the northern South Carolina coast as a potential landfall location. Given the fairly good consistency amongst the models on landfall location, I decided not to shift the landfall threat farther south. I’ll decide tomorrow if I need to make any additional shifts southward. Locations in and around the circled region is where I am currently anticipating damage to reach catastrophic levels.

Hurricane Florence landfall

The second map includes the regions that could be impacted by Florence, whether that’s from wind, flooding, or coastal storm-surge. Most of the forecast model guidance today made a noteworthy shift westward (and even southwestward) in Florence’s track once it reaches the southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina coasts. Some of the guidance even brings the center back over water and has a second landfall occurring farther southward into South Carolina. Weak steering flow is making this a particular challenging forecast. A high pressure ridge to Florence’s east/northeast and also to its west will result in Florence slowing significantly near the coast. The pink zone is where I’m currently most concerned about; while some parts of the red zone could experience significant impacts as well. At the least, I expect those in the red zone to experience some impacts from wind and rain. If the southward trend continues, I may end up chopping parts of northern Virginia out of the red zone, but in this update, I mainly included them due to potential flooding. I’m sure modifications will have to be made to the forecast, since we’re now getting down to the county-level.

Hurricane Florence impact zones

Please continue to follow Firsthand Weather on Facebook and this site for future updates.