Hurricane Florence is moving slowly towards North Carolina. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is moving at northwest at 6 mph 5.2 knots 9.7 km/h. It has winds of 90 mph 78 knots 145 km/h with gusts as high as 113 mph 98 knots 182 km/h. That makes Florence a Category 1 hurricane. It is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. A large hurricane is very dangerous as they can produce large storm surge and waves.
Looking at the wind swath map, the entire Coastal North Carolina and parts of South Carolina are experiencing tropical storm force winds. Some areas in Coastal North Carolina are seeing hurricane force winds. If Florence makes landfall with 90 mph winds, the highest wind on land is going to be 77 mph 67 knots 124 km/h with gusts as high as 116 mph 101 knots 187 km/h. Many areas will likely see 50 to 70 mph 44 to 61 knots 80 to 113 km/h with gusts as high as 75 to 105 mph 65 to 91 knots 121 to 169 km/h. The biggest question is where does Florence go ultimately.
It is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. It is more circular, which suggests that Florence could linger for the next several days over land. That is going to be very bad as winds, storm surge, waves, and heavy rain are going to persist. Storm surge is getting much high as Florence gets closer. The Neuse River at Oriental, North Carolina gauge is setting high water of nearly 9 feet/2.7 meters!
It is only getting higher. I would not be surprised to see storm surge approaching 20 feet/6.1 meters or higher. Storm surge is very dangerous. That is why people evacuate from water and hide from the wind. To make matters worse, heavy rain is falling. Heavy rain leads to flooding, which kills like storm surge. It is very destructive. Case in point, Harvey. Let’s take a look at the rainfall total forecast. 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 forecast models have 29 to 38 inches/73.7 centimeters to 96.5 centimeters of rain. GFS has the lowest, while EURO has the highest. The NHC is forecasting 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain of rain. I would not be surprised if some areas see 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain. Some areas have gotten over 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain already! 50 inches does not sound so off.
Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence is making landfall somewhere in North Carolina.
-Landfall time is looking to be Friday morning.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Record rainfall is likely with Florence.
It is going to be a long night for North Carolina with Florence. It is going to be one brutal hurricane for them.