We are getting quite closer to landfall and as most guidance converges, it does look like we are going to have a landfall in Southeastern NC, somewhere from Cape Fear, NC to Topsail Beach, NC. The National Hurricane Center’s 11 EDT advisory shows that Hurricane Florence has dropped in strength down to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds at 110 MPH. The system is now moving at 17 MPH to the northwest.
The NHC seems to have adjusted the track according to the model guidance, writing the following in their 11 PM update:
“The new forecast track now brings the center onshore in southern North Carolina near the 36 h point.”
They also spoke to that conditions will ripen for a short period of favorable conditions for the hurricane to recover some intensity, with low confidence in whether the storm will have the time to do so or not. If you are interested in reading further, the text of this update is posted here.
From there, this storm looks to be headed southwest very slowly and will affect the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina heavily with wind and rain. The rest of the state will have large amounts of rainfall as well. However, the track adjustment that has a NC landfall means that the Pee Dee and Grand Strand should be spared any major hurricane winds (Category 3 and above). Any hurricane-force wind gusts will be limited in nature due to the storm weakening on a slow march over the state border. However, tropical storm/hurricane wind gusts could go further due to the expansion of the wind fields of the storm noted in the NHC discussion.
A few images from the NAM (North American Mesoscale) model that was just run starting at approximately 8:30 PM EDT show the main concepts below:
Note: These images are from Tropical Tidbits, an excellent weather site for analyzing model output of hurricanes and other weather.
The NAM isn’t the greatest model for hurricane analysis; however, this is the latest run of a higher resolution American model that gives a decent feel for the path and intensity of the storms. This storm moves very little from 1:00 AM EDT to 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, absolutely drenching the coastal regions of the Carolinas. You can see through these NAM images how the size of the precipitation and the wind fields expands greatly once the storm gets ashore.
I will follow up tomorrow finally with a precipitation map closer to the event itself to hopefully get some accurate total rainfall suggestions. Also, I will end this post below with a current picture (as of 11:02 PM EDT) from NASA’s GOES-East (GOES-16) satellite, using infrared to illuminate the hurricane at nighttime. To anyone in harm’s way, get out if you can and be safe!