Hurricane Florence Now A Category 2 Hurricane. It Is Time To Prepare, Not Panic.

5:21am  Monday September 10, 2018

Chief Meteorologist Chris White

Good morning.  Lots of rain over the forecast area in the overnight hours and some remains out there early this morning but it is weakening.  All of that is due to a cold front that has stalled across the area and is not associated with Florence. 

Hurricane Florence is undergoing rapid intensification this morning.  The eye wall is now closed off and about 10 miles in diameter.  Satellite images indicate thunderstorms are exploding around the exterior of the eye wall and Florence will likely be a major hurricane by this evening.

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Florence is now moving to the NNW and is picking up forward speed as high pressure over the North Atlantic continues to strengthen and build south and west.  That is forcing Florence to pick up that forward speed and that trend will continue the next 24-48 hours.  By Wednesday Morning Florence will be near 29°N and 71° W, or about 315 miles Southwest of Bermuda.  During the day on Wednesday another cold front will approach our region and stall.  That frontal position is key to Florence's track from here.  High pressure will be building South through the Ohio Valley behind said front.  This will cause the forward rate of speed to slow down a bit.  Florence is projected to remain at a category 4 hurricane. 

From here though guidance overnight begins to shift and spread a bit.  The European and its ensembles trended to the southwest while the suite of hurricane models shifted to the NE.  The GFS also remains in that pool of models indicating a more northeasterly trajectory.  This has caused the cone of uncertainty to expand a bit by day 5 and it is important that you don't focus on the exact middle of the forecast track.  This hurricane could land anywhere within the cone and that cone will narrow down as we get closer to the impacts of the event. 

All of that being said the time is now to prepare.  Yes if you live in any of our 8 counties or anywhere in North Carolina you need to be stocking up on drinkable water, non perishable foods, an emergency supply kit, batteries for your flashlights, lamp oil, pet food, medications, and cell phone battery cells.  The chance of a high impact wind and flood event have increased overnight across the piedmont, foothills, and mountains of North Carolina.  Now, no, nothing is certain but it never hurts to be over prepared and not need it than to be under prepared and be caught in an emergency. 

As the key messages state, this storm could move in as early as Thursday and impact our area with torrential rainfall right through Monday.  We have included a generic map with this update as to what the impacts will be.  It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that you check back and follow the latest forecasts for our area as these impacts could change. 

Meteorologist Scotty Powell will be along after while with a forecast discussion update on the near and mid term weather. 

Plan, prepare, and have provisions so that you and your family can survive 72 hours or longer without power.