Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 major hurricane, is expected to bash the East Coast later this week with powerful storm surge and high winds before slowing inland, producing dangerous flooding rains. Florence will likely produce “life-threatening storm surge” along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia the National Hurricane Center said Monday.
The latest Hurricane Florence spaghetti models run Monday show Florence likely making landfall in North Carolina (see above photo; the red line is the official National Hurricane Center forecast path, and other the blue line is GFS, and others include the European models). It’s important to monitor Florence’s spaghetti models forecast path beyond landfall to see where the massive storm is expected to go since that’s when much of the damage can occur.
Hurricane Harvey, of course, dumped 40 and 50 inches of rain last year in the Houston area over three and four days after it stalled out, drenching the region.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Florence to make landfall as a powerful Category 3 or 4 storm on Thursday, the latest models show. Florence is then expected to slow down inland due to a new pressure ridge building across the Great Lakes. If a storm the size and might of Florence slows down over the Carolinas Friday and into the weekend, flooding could be damaging if not deadly.
“Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland,” the National Hurricane Center said.
The National Hurricane Center official path forecast (red in the above photo) calls for Florence to continue moving into North Carolina after landfall – expected Thursday. The majority of Florence forecast spaghetti models including GFS and European concur, according to the latest runs. It’s clear, however, that Virginia is not in the clear – particularly since the right side of the hurricane is always the strongest and most damaging.
“Where Florence turns northward around the western periphery of that high-pressure system will determine what part of the coastline experiences the worst wind and storm-surge impacts typically near the eye,” the Weather Channel reported Monday.
“The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Florence to be a major hurricane (Category 3 or 4) when it arrives at the Southeast coast Thursday. Florence may become only the fourth Category 4 hurricane to make landfall along the U.S. East Coast north of Georgia, joining Hugo (1989), Gracie (1959) and Hazel (1954), according to the historical database.”
Storm surge warnings are expected to be posted by Tuesday morning for coastlines in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, the NHC said.
“As Florence approaches the southeastern United States, there will likely be fluctuations in intensity from eyewall cycles, but even if this occurs, the hurricane’s wind field is expected to grow with time, increasing the storm surge and inland wind threats,” the NHC said. “The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity.”