Florence Approaching NC Coast; Preparations Across NC and SC Should Be Rushed To Completion. Florence's History Included.

5:30am Thursday September 13, 2018

Chief Meteorologist Chris White

Good Morning. Florence is about 205 miles ESE of Wilmington and churning North. Florence did encounter some of that shear that we have been discussing was possible over the last few days. A small meso low developed Wednesday Evening just East of Jacksonville Florida and it was just enough to disrupt Florence’s flow. Florence has been going through an eyewall replacement cycle since about 3am and continues to be wop sided to the Northeast. The southeast quadrant of Florence continues to experience shear and I doubt Florence will be strengthening very much before she approaches land tonight.

High pressure continues to build east slowly and the cold front remains over Memphis TN. Frontal systems have a tough time progressing Southeast through our part of the country this time of year and most of the time are slower than most models project them out 5+ days. In accordance with that experience we were concerned with higher impacts from Florence across the foothills since this past weekend. Ill be honest. I feel like I have been forecasting this monster for two weeks. Well, I guess that is because we have.

Here is some fun facts about Florence. Florence began as a area of disturbed weather over Kayes Africa (Lat 12.9N and Long -10.9W) on August 29th 2018 at 1:00pm. Florence emerged off the West Coast of Africa on August 30th at 1:00am EDT (12.8 N, -16.9 W) with a sea level pressure of 1007mb or 29.73 inches. At this time she was known at Ivest06. To be Florence had winds of 23 mph. From there its slow journey across The Atlantic began. Florence moved WSW reaching is Southern most point on August 30th at 1:00pm at Lat 12.8 N, Long 19.0 W with a sea level pressure of 1007mb or 29.73 inches of mercury. To be Florence turned WNW at that point and was designated as Tropical Depression Number 6 on August 31st, 2018 at 1:00pm while located at Lat 13.8 N, Long -23.8W. Florence continued WNW and was dubbed Tropical Storm Florence on September 1st, 2018 at 1:00am while located at 14.3 N, -26.1 W. Florence had a sea level pressure of 1003mb or 29.61 inches of mercury. Florence had winds of 40mph. Florence’s journey took her WNW across the Atlantic and her next milestone was becoming Hurricane Florence on September 4th, 2018 at 7:00am. At that time Florence was a category 1 hurricane with winds of 75mph, a sea level pressure of 990mb or 29.23 inches of mercury, and was positioned at 19.5 N, -42.0 W. All of the hurricane models indicated Florence would remain out at sea as of this point. It didn’t take long for Florence to strengthen either. By September 4th at 7:00pm Florence became a category 2 hurricane while positioned at 20.4 N, -43.4 W. At that point microwave and satellite data indicated winds of 98mph around the eye of Florence with a pressure of 976mb or 28.82 inches of mercury. Florence was undergoing rapid intensification. Just 12 hours later at 7:00am Florence became a category 3 storm with a sea level pressure of 961mb or 28.27 inches of mercury. Satellite and microwave data indicated Florence had winds of 121mph and was moving NW. Florence was not done showing off just yet either. On September 5th, 2018 at 1:00pm Florence became a category 4 hurricane with winds estimated at 132mph, a sea level pressure of 953mb or 28.14 inches of mercury while located at 22.4N and -46.2 West. From there Florence moved into a less than favorable environment and started to weaken. Florence was moving NNW and continued that path until September 7th, 2018. On this day Florence would weaken back down to a tropical storm. She was located at 25.0 N, -49.6 W and had a sea level pressure of 993mb or 29.32 inches of mercury. Winds dropped to 69mph according to microwave and satellite data. Florence was a little less than halfway across the Atlantic. From there Florence moved WSW as a tropical storm before reaching Lat 24.4 N and Long -56.1 W where she regained her reign as a category 1 hurricane. Florence would move due west again rapidly strengthening and became another major category 3 hurricane on September 10th at 7:00am. By this time all eyes became fixed on the East Coast because it was apparent Florence would miss a trough that was passing to the North and not be taken back out to sea. Florence’s pressure dropped to 955mb or 28.2 inches of mercury and had winds of 121mph. Florence would become a major category 4 hurricane in just 6 short hours. Florence reached its lowest recorded pressure on September 11th, 2018 at 7:00pm. There, located at 25.6 N, -61.8 W Florence’s pressure dropped to 941mb or 27.78 inches of mercury. Florence was again downgraded to a category 3 hurricane on September 12th, 2018 at 1:00pm. Florence has continued to weaken to a category 2 hurricane where she is located this morning at 32.8 N, -74.7 W.

Florence is approaching the North Carolina Coast this morning and residents there are thankful for her weakening. It looks like now that Florence will come on short around Wilmington as a category 2 storm and winds around 105mph. She should come ashore around 2:00am tomorrow (Friday) Morning. Florence does not look like she will move down the coast now and instead will slow way down and slowly move WSW toward Columbia before turning NW and moving into SW NC. By 2:00am Monday Morning Florence is forecast to be over Uncle Bill’s Flea Market just West of Dillsboro NC.

Impacts locally will start to be felt here in the foothills Saturday Night. Those impacts will arrive as light rain, transitioning to torrential rain rather quickly. Winds will be gusting to 45mph with the heaviest rainfall and with the saturated ground we do anticipate that being enough to bring down multiple trees and powerlines across the foothills and mountains.

Here are our high impact briefing graphics. Any questions just ask and we will be glad to answer. Florence’s impacts should start to wind down Tuesday Morning in our forecast area.