Submitted by Daniel Crawley: @SoApps1979
Good Saturday afternoon to everyone, all eyes continue to be directed out into the Atlantic Ocean as Tropical Storm Florence continues to move west….
As you can see Florence has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph as of the 11 am advisory. Visible satellite imagery is showing that Florence is still dealing with some dry air, however the wind shear that weakened the storm over the past 48 hours has lessened giving the storm a more symmetrical appearance compared to yesterday. As Florence gets further away from that dry air source and into warmer ocean waters, all of the key components for intensification are in place. Hurricane Hunters are currently en route and will investigate Florence this afternoon, the storm could become a hurricane as soon as tonight.
The forecast through the next couple days seem pretty straight-forward as Florence will intensify as it continues to move west, chances are high that it could be a major hurricane by some point on Monday or Tuesday. Its in the later portion of the 5-Day forecast where differences still exist. High pressure to the north of Florence is going to be the main steering component going forward. It’s the strength of the high along with its exact shape and orientation that will mean the difference in where or if Florence makes landfall on the East Coast next week. While its still too early to accurately gauge where landfall might occur, we do feel that an “out-to-sea” scenario is becoming a less-likely option at this juncture.
As you can see on Monday morning, high pressure is steering Florence along and that ridge on some of the guidance gets even stronger as the week wears on. The European model in particular is painting a scenario where ridging works back into the US as Florence continues on a WNW path toward the Southeast Coast, specifically the South Carolina coast. Other guidance is not as strong with the ridge and allows Florence to round the corner a bit earlier implying more of a threat to the Carolina Outer Banks. Regardless of path, all guidance indicates a major hurricane will be approaching the coastline by late week. Hopefully the models will come into a better consensus on the path in the near future…
The latest hurricane model guidance tends to side with the Euro type solution on a further south and west track…so, take that at face value.
At this point in the game there is no need for panic in regards to Florence and potential impacts along the coastline. We’re still looking at 5-6 days away from any significant impact. Waves and rip current risks will increase a bit quicker with the approach of Florence. Regardless, have a hurricane readiness plan in place and be ready to take action when necessary.