Hurricane Florence is getting ever so closer to the Southeastern US. Subtropical Storm Joyce recently formed in the Eastern Atlantic. We now have Florence, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce. Invest 95L could become Kirk. If Kirk forms, we would have five storms at once. Before I talk about the latest, ten years ago today, Hurricane Ike was getting closer to the Texas Coast as a large Category 2 hurricane. I will focus on Florence and Invest 95L as they are closest to land.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Florence with 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds with gusts as high as 138 mph 120 knots 222 km/h. It has central pressure of 957 millibars. Just because Florence is no longer a major hurricane does not make it any less dangerous. In some ways, it is more dangerous as it gets larger. People might think that Florence is no longer dangerous as it is no longer a major hurricane. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger. I think Florence could have hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 250 miles 217 nautical miles 402 kilometers before landfall.
Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence and Invest 95L. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. I have included Ensemble Prediction Systems generated from a previous forecast cycle along with the latest.
The heat map for Florence is getting more circular, which is concerning. Florence could make landfall somewhere in South Carolina or North Carolina. It suggests that Florence is going to slow down after it makes landfall. It looks to linger over the area after landfall. As for landfall time, Florence is probably going to make landfall sometimes on Friday morning. The slower motion of Florence is lower confidence because forecast models cannot predict where Florence will go. In regards to Invest 95L, it looks to be making landfall on South Texas sometimes on Friday. Too early to tell for this one at this time. Since Florence is getting larger and forecasted to slow down, storm surge is going to be a serious problem.
Some areas could see easily 15 feet/4.6 meters storm surge. I would not be surprised if some areas see over 20 feet/6.1 meters storm surge. If anyone is in a storm surge area, they need to evacuate. Storm surge kills! Most people die from storm surge in hurricanes and tropical cyclones. The deadliest tropical cyclone known is the 1970 Bhola Cyclone, which claimed 1.1 million people in present day Bangladesh, then East Pakistan on November 12, 1970. The tropical cyclone produced up to 33 feet/10 meters storm surge on the Ganges Delta. Most of the death were from deadly storm surge and epidemic following the tropical cyclone. Proof that storm surge kills. It also does not have to be a strong major hurricane to produce deadly and monsterous storm surge. Ike and Sandy produce high storm surge despite not being major hurricanes. They produced deadly storm surge because they were large storms and the geography is more conducive to deadly storm surge, which is also the case for Coastal Bangladesh. As Florence getting closer and water rising, many are asking how strong will Florence be.
Most intensity forecast models for Florence show it will be maintaining Category 2. One has it re-intensifying into Category 3 hurricane. I would not be srurprised if Florence does intensify into a Category 3 before landfall. As for Invest 95L, a couple forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm. I would not be surprised if 95L becomes Kirk by Thursday.
Rainfall is another concern, especially for Florence. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.
The EURO has nearly 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 33 inches/83.8 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 22 inches/55.9 centimeters of rain. The ICON has 28 inches/71.2 centimeters of rain. The EURO has the heaviest rainfall forecast. Previously, the GFS had some high rainfall forecast totals as high as 77 inches/195.6 centimeters in 7 days! The National Hurricane Center forecasts rainfall on par with Mitch and Harvey. They forecasted over 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. That is very chilling to read that. Not often you see that for sure. I would not be surprised if some areas get over 50 inches of rain once it is all over.
The rainfall forecast for Invest 95L is not as high as it has been previously. The EURO has 6 inches/15.2 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain. The ICON has over 10 inches/25.4 centimeters of rain. The forecast models are all over the place for Invest 95L. The forecast models assume that 95L does not become Kirk. If it became Kirk, I suspect the forecast models are going to change.
Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 3 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect South Carolina and North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Kirk by Thursday.