A truly terrifying yet breathtaking view, Hurricane Florence is on a path of destruction towards the U.S. East Coast. Thankfully, the hurricane has been downgraded to an intense category 2 hurricane- however the threats do not change. Do not think of this storm as simply a number! Florence will likely bring life-threatening storm surge, strong winds, and fresh water flooding to a widespread area across the Carolinas.
The worst- and the most difficult to predict- part about Florence’s track? Florence is forecast to slam on the brakes, either right before or after landfall somewhere along the North Carolina coast on Friday. Then, as illustrated in the NHC forecast graphic above, the hurricane will slide westward into South Carolina. This is bad for several reasons. First, the storm has been traveling for quite a long distance as a major hurricane. Even over the last few hours, the wind field has expanded greatly and with this comes large waves and storm surge. When Florence stalls, all of this wave energy and surge will be forced into the coast over a long period of time- potentially up to a full day, as some models are indicating. Secondly, this means that the worst hit area will also see prolonged hurricane force winds, spelling disaster for the region. North Carolina will likely get the worst of both of these threats, as it sits on the right side of the storm.
The other dangerous part about this stalling hurricane is the incredible amount of rainfall it will produce over a very large area. Honestly, this may end up being the major story of hurricane Florence when it is all said and done. The photo above shows the WPC prediction for total rainfall accumulation after the hurricane passes- and this likely could be underestimated. This is a LIFE ALTERING flooding and flash flooding situation across parts of both North and South Carolina. This does not simply end when the hurricane passes, as water will flow into rivers and streams likely creating issues for weeks to come.
Bottom line: No matter the location or intensity of hurricane Florence at landfall, effects expand well beyond the center as this is a MASSIVE storm and extreme flooding is likely in portions of the Carolinas. If you or someone you know happens to live within the NHC cone or other areas in the Carolinas prone to flooding, convince them to evacuate from the coast or move to higher ground if at all possible! If they plan on staying behind, hurricane preparations should be rushed to completion as Florence approaches:
The remnants of Florence will need to be watched carefully in the coming days, as they could move inland and affect Bowling Green weather. Stay tuned to your local TV meteorologists, the NWS, and our blog for more information in the coming days!