Florence: 2 p.m. Wednesday
by The Press and Standard | September 12, 2018 2:09 pm
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK ---------------------- At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), reports from An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 30.4 North, longitude 71.8 West. Florence is moving toward the northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h) and this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected to through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday. The reconnaissance aircraft found that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in strength will be possible through Thursday morning. Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A NOAA buoy located about 100 miles northeast of Florence's eye recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 74 mph (119 km/h). The minimum central pressure based on reports from the reconnaissance aircraft is estimated to be 948 mb (27.99 inches). HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide... Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers...9-13 ft North Myrtle Beach SC to Cape Fear NC...6-9 ft Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft South Santee River SC to North Myrtle Beach SC...4-6 ft Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft Salvo NC to North Carolina/Virginia Border...2-4 ft Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC...2-4 ft
RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas... Coastal North Carolina...20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding. South Carolina, western and northern North Carolina...5 to 10 inches, isolated 20 inches. Elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states...3 to 6 inches, isolated 12 inches. WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area late Thursday or Friday. Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength on Thursday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina beginning late Thursday morning. SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.