Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By

Hurricane Florence still a threat despite downgrade

Hurricane Florence still a threat despite downgrade

Most wind damage will occur Friday and early Saturday as the storm slowly passes through southern North Carolina into SC.

Hurricane Florence, after weeks of warnings, has finally begun to touch down in the Carolinas on Thursday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Centre said it was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher.

In yet another reminder to those in the path of the storm, it's worth noting that Trump also said the response to last year's hurricane in Puerto Rico - which officially killed almost 3,000 people - had been "incredibly successful".

Shelters in the city were filling and some people were being bused inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate because of flooding.

The storm's center was about 170 miles southeast of Wilmington at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a National Hurricane Center briefing.

Again, the category may have been downgraded, but the storm surge could still rise up to 13 feet, which is enough to flood homes up to the first floor ceiling.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

"A slow motion over eastern SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night".

Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland. The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC. And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon.


NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) said "microwave overpass indicated that the convection over the southern and southeastern portions of the storm is still disrupted, and that the eyewall was open to the southeast".

At this time the storm surge, where winds and the mass of the storm push water forward over beaches and anything that is within 15 - 20 feet from sea level.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

While it is extremely likely that the eastern Carolinas will be hardest hit by the storm Thursday into Friday (local time), the storm's direction becomes far less certain over the weekend and next week.

By way of computer modeling, Duke Energy anticipates between 1 and 3 million customers in the Carolinas to lose power in addition to those Dominion serves in Virginia.

Airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and some airports in the Carolinas virtually shut down.

NHC tropical cyclone forecast track for Hurricane Florence 11 a.m. EDT Thursday. The power companies expect millions of people to be without power for days.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is a chance some of that tropical rainfall could pass through portions of the Northeast next Tuesday or Wednesday before we can finally say good riddance to Florence for good.

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