Major Hurricane Florence on Track to Cause Catastrophic Damage to NC & SC Coasts

Major Hurricane Florence Moves Closer

This morning Hurricane Florence is still a 130mph Category 4 storm on a path directly towards the US. The entire immediate coast of South Carolina, and many areas along the coast of NC have began evacuation procedures ahead of the storm. Below you can see a picture provided to me by mom of the traffic leaving Charleston at 10p.m. last night. She says they traveled in bumper to bumper traffic until reaching Hendersonville, NC.. over 150 miles from the coast.

Hurricane Florence Evacuation Traffic I-26 10 miles outside of Charleston, SC

Will Hurricane Florence Strengthen More?

The short answer to that question is yes, it is very possible. You can see on the graphic below that Florence still has to pass over some of the warmest water in the Atlantic, also known as The Gulf Stream. In fact, some models have Florence looping around the Gulf Stream and making a second landfall at some point in time over the weekend. The Gulf Stream will play a huge part in Florence’s ability to maintain its strength as it stalls out. With a stout ridge protruding from the north, a stall appears very likely, and that is worrisome due to inland flooding. I expect that today we will have a better idea as to if the loop is real or no.. because if it is, that would absolutely be devastating to the NC coast. 72 hours of constant on shore flow will destroy beaches and mangle anything on the immediate coastline.

Why is Florence Different From Other Storms?

Florence will be moving extremely slow as it makes landfall, making it difficult to compare to any other large storm that has made landfall at the expected strength. Hugo was moving at aprox 40mph, so its hard to make that comparison. Others moved through and then re-curved back out to sea. A Hurricane in 1905 made a similar pass, but there is limit information to compare to. Therefore, Hurricane Florence is expected to produce unprecedented damage wherever it makes landfall. Storm surge could top 20’ in immediate coastal locations of NC, and Sound side flooding will be likely as well. The duration of the onshore flow will cause many roadways to be covered by the ocean, so please turn around, don’t drown!

What Should You Expect In WNC From Florence?

If the loop occurs, I expect more rainfall this weekend from Florence. Given that we are modeled to be on the Western part of the storm though, I think rainfall will be minimal. Locations closer to Boone, NC stand a better chance to see significant rainfall, but the Asheville area does not look nearly as soggy. The western side of the storm is the portion where drying out occurs, so I would expect gusty winds beginning Thursday evening, and those could last through the weekend. Occasional showers will be likely, but I am not expecting a flooding rainfall event.. at least from this initial landfall. If Florence loops back around though, we could see a re-entry somewhere along the SC coast, and if Florence comes inland on the SC coast, WNC will experience much more rain this weekend. Still a lot of variables to sort out, so check back for another update and join me live on my Youtube Page at 4:30pm.