Pop-up thunderstorms will continue to be the theme through the weekend, as small cells take advantage of moist surface conditions. As the weekend comes to a close though, a front associated with former Tropical Storm Gordon will begin to affect the area.
Setting The Stage
The front associated with Gordon will serve as the steering mechanism in the atmosphere as Florence approaches the Atlantic Coast. Will it pick up Florence and sweep it out to sea, or will Florence duck under the trough and barrel into the US? Models are having and extremely difficult time resolving what will actually occur, and with so much energy involved.. that is somewhat understandable. With that though, its difficult to assert with any accuracy where exactly Florence will go, and if it will even affect the US.
What Locations Are In Play?
Basically everyone on the East Coast should be watching this system cautiously. Models have indicated that an extremely strong storm is possible, and could very well affect the East Coast. Locations in Florida cannot be ruled out either with some southerly trends overnight on models like the European.
Florence Weakens Overnight
Florence fell apart somewhat yesterday, and was reclassified to a Tropical Storm again. Shear aloft induced this weakening, but models indicate a much more favorable environment for development exists as Florence approaches the US. Look for Florence to become a strong hurricane again by the end of this weekend.
When Will We Know The Exact Track?
At this point in time, I think that models will grasp the track better on Sunday and Monday runs. No one should panic, or really even do too much preparation until we get a handle on the exact track. Too many times in the past, models indicate 3-4 days out that a location will receive a direct hit, only for that location to be 300-400 miles away from the actual landfall location. It is best to be prepared to act and evacuate, but sometimes it is overhyped or unnecessary.
Using The Past
If you remember Hurricane Irma last year that hit the Gulf Coast of FL, you recall that 3-4 days before landfall, the entire coast of SC evacuated. Thats because models showed a recurving storm that slammed into SC, not a storm that inner core gets disturbed by the mountains of Cuba and then scrapes over the FL Keys. We must remember things like this when forecasting for the future. As Irma approached, we realized that models were incorrect, and those fears from the coast of SC move to a fear of a hit on Miami. Panic ensued and mass evacuations occurred. But once again model guidance was a bit off. Irma ended up hitting close to Tampa Bay, no where near where models said it would hit 5 days before. So take current data with a grain of salt, and check back here for another outlook in the next few days!