Hurricane Florence Heading for North Carolina
Hurricane Florence is approaching the Carolina's today with arrival expected Thursday morning according to the National Hurricane Prediction Center.
The storm is expected to have a devastating impact with 100-120 MPH wind gusts at landfall, widespread heavy flooding rain, and storm surge. The hurricane is likely to stall/linger across the region similar to Hurricane Harvey last August in Texas. Major flooding is expected. Long duration hurricane force winds are possible.
As of 9:00AM Wednesday, Sep 12 is Major Category 4 Hurricane located southwest of Bermuda with gusts estimated at 130 MPH (115kt), moving west towards North Carolina. Strengthening is possible prior to landfall in the warm open waters of the gulf stream but eventually weakening as it nears the coast. Landfall could take one or two days.
- WIND GUST - Maximum wind gusts at landfall of 100-120 MPH according to the NHC. Hurricane force winds are likely across much of North Carolina. Coastal areas northeast of the eye will see the strongest winds. Duration of hurricane force wind gusts is somewhat questionable and will depend on how long the storm stalls off-shore. It's possible the hurricane will slide southwest along the shore bringing long duration hurricane force winds to a long stretch of Carolina coast.
- MAJOR FLOODING - The biggest widespread impact will be heavy flooding rain. The storm will linger across the region which is a key characteristic of major flooding events. Widespread rainfall amounts of 6" will occur according to the WPC. Near the coast rainfall will be measured in feet. 20"+ is expected with locally 30"+. This will certainly cause major flooding and landslides across the region. Again, think Harvey last August.
- STORM SURGE of 5-10 ft along the North Carolina coast. This will have the greatest impact on the barrier islands.
This figures to be the strongest hurricane in the Carolina's since Hugo (1989) or Hazel (1954) with regards to wind intensity. The record becomes fuzzy for 1950 and prior. Heavy rain records are effectively non-existent so there is nothing to compare it to that way. Check out this list of major hurricanes in North Carolina history. It seems like most major hurricanes are quick in and out with a generally south to north path. Florence will linger with a east to west path.
I will not be updating this article but hopefully this gets you up to speed.
Goes 16 Satellite - http://www.aos.wisc.edu/weather/wx_obs/GOES16_meso1.html
National Hurricane Center - https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at1.shtml?cone#contents