Talking the Tropics With Mike: Florence headed for New England far to the north of Florida

Sept. 18, 2018 — The "Buresh Bottom Line": Always be prepared!.....First Alert Hurricane Survival Guide... City of Jacksonville Preparedness Guide... Georgia Hurricane Guide.  

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FLORENCE - landfall - as Cat. 1 - early Fri.... edge of eyewall at 6am... center of the eye at 7:15am EDT at Wrightsville Beach, NC very near Wilmington..... will move off the coast of New England by early Wed.



Rainfall estimated by Doppler Radar through early Monday:

Remarkable landfall forecast from the NHC 5 days in advance.  Forecast on the left is the 5am advisory Sun., 09/09... image on the right is reality early Fri., 09/14:

"Florence"  - a named storm for the 14th straight day Fri. - became the 3rd hurricane, 1st "major" of the '18 Atlantic season Tue.... went Cat. 3 then briefly Cat. 4 last Wed. ...  fell apart in the face of shear & dry air Thu.... continues moving into the Western Atlantic & made the expected comeback reaching Cat. 4 strength again Mon.  The tropical cyclone made the important turn northwest reaching Jacksonville's latitude BUT hundreds (400+) of miles to the east - late Wed./Wed. night.  Florence went through some serious structural alterations Wed. probably due to nearby dry air & some shear which has caused weakening & never could fully recover. Florence made landfall early Friday as a Cat. 1 & the underside (south portion) of the circulation is pretty quickly weakening while the north & east quadrants remain relatively strong.  Such an evolution is not uncommon with landfalling tropical cyclones as dry air is often first ingested from the west due to the counter-clockwise circulation.

Despite the general weakening before landfall (some mistakenly took this as a sign that the storm wouldn't be "that bad"), Florence has been - & will be - a big hit on the Carolina's:  Major to severe impacts can be expected & - in some instances - truly catastrophic with water causing the most damage... along with isolated tornadoes along the path & east of the center.

Florence's center will turn rather sharply east/northeast exiting into the NW Atlantic off New England Tue. night/early Wed.

Flooding will follow the path of the post-tropical low pressure from Eastern Tennessee northeastward through parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York & Massachusetts through the middle of the week!  River flooding will lag the flash flooding reaching record levels in some areas.

Tropical cyclone record rainfall (for a single storm) appear to have been broken in S. & N. Carolina:

Wide view of the Atlantic Basin which is starting to calm down.  Joyce developed over the N. Atlantic Wed. & will soon be post-tropical over the far Eastern Atlantic with no land impacts.  Isaac - has degenerated into a tropical wave over the Caribbean. Low pressure may develop between the Bahamas & Bermuda this week & could try to gradually take on some tropical characteristics - something to watch though early indications are that this system would stay over the open water of the Western Atlantic.  Another area to watch in the long term - late month - may be over the Caribbean &/or Gulf of Mexico.

E. Atlantic:




Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

The Atlantic Basin....


Gulf of Mexico:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air) - notice the dry air right up against Florence:

Deep oceanic heat content is seasonably high over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & SW Atlantic as one would expect now that we're near the height of the hurricane season....

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:


Surface analysis of the Gulf: