Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning at approximately 8am EDT near Wilmington, North Carolina as a Category 1 storm. Since then it has barely moved, inching southwest along the Carolina coast. It continues to dump heavy rain that has led to flash flooding and caused storm surges to persist along the coast. Winds have also been an issue, knocking out power to thousands.

Below, we have the latest statistics on Florence.



Latest News and Information:

  • More than 675,000 customers are without power in the Carolinas, as of 1:45pm EDT.
  • Winds have gusted up to 106 mph, which was recorded at Cape Lookout, NC.
  • Up to 18.53 inches of rain has fallen so far, which took place in Oriental, NC.
  • 4.11 feet of storm surge at 11am EDT Friday sets a new record water level at Wrightsville Beach, NC. This breaks the record set by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 by more than a foot.
  • Beaufort, NC saw a record water level this morning from Florence at 3.74 feet above high tide. This breaks the record set in 1955 during Hurricane Lone.
  • 14,000 people spent the night in 205 Red Cross shelters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • 40,000 electric workers from 17 states have been mobilized.
  • 4,000 National Guard soldiers are on duty.
  • The American Red Cross has deployed 1,500 employees and volunteers, 80 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies.
  • A third curfew is in effect for Myrtle Beach, SC, which will go into effect at 7pm EDT Friday and will stay in place until 7am EDT Saturday.
  • 157 shelters are open across North Carolina, and 20,000 people are staying in them.
  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper calls Florence a “1,000-year rain event.”
  • Apple is donating $1 million to the American Red Cross in response to Florence.
  • About 200 people were rescued overnight in New Bern, NC and another 150 are awaiting to be rescued due to storm surge flooding.
  • Wilmington, NC clocked a wind gust of 105 mph when the eyewall of Hurricane Florence came through – its strongest wind gust since 1958.
  • Florence will likely break the state rainfall records from a tropical cyclone:
    • Current North Carolina record: 24.06 inches from Floyd (1999)
    • Current South Carolina record: 18.51 inches from Jerry (1995)




Florence Going Forward:

Florence has moved inland since making landfall this morning, but it has not moved much. Tracking at a snails-pace of 3 mph (as of the 11am EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center) it will continue to basically stall over the Carolinas until Saturday night. Florence will likely remain a hurricane though tonight before it gradually weakens into a tropical storm and then a depression by Sunday thanks to the loss of energy which was provided by the warm oceans.

Despite Florence being over land, storm surge will remain a big issue along portions of the Carolina coast due to the onshore flow. The worst of the surge will be from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC with 7-11 feet of inundation. Storm surge will be the worst now into Saturday before the storm pulls far enough away from the coast, allowing for water levels to gradually return to normal beginning on Sunday.

Flooding and heavy rain remains the biggest threat associated with Florence. Just because the cyclone made landfall doesn’t mean it will disappear and inland areas will be spared. Similar to Hurricane Harvey that impacted Texas in 2017, Florence will be a slow-mover with multiple feeder bands moving onshore from the water, enhancing the heavy rain. These feeder bands are what most concerns us in terms of the flood threat, especially since flooding has already been reported in southeastern North Carolina. Heavy rain will persist across this region throughout tonight, Saturday, and Saturday night before slowly clearing out on Sunday.

This Friday, the rain will be focused across eastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. Within these rain bands may be a few, spin-up tornadoes. Several tornadoes have already been reported Friday morning near the North Carolina coast, according to the National Weather Service. On Saturday not much will change as Florence slowly moves west. By this point in time, the center of Florence will only have moved a few miles from around Wilmington, NC to Columbia, SC. Due to this western movement, central North and South Carolina as well as southern Virginia will experience the rain, although much of it will be light. The heavy stuff will remain across eastern North Carolina as those feeder bands persist. It’s not until Saturday night when rain from Florence affects the entirety of the Carolinas. Beginning on Sunday, the flood threat will shift to near the Appalachian Mountains as heavy rain affects the southern parts of this mountain range as well as the western Carolinas and Virginia. Meanwhile at the coast, drier air will begin to work in, allowing for just a few lingering showers and downpours.




Southeastern North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina can expect an additional 20-25 inches, with isolated storm totals of 30-40 inches. “This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding,” according to the National Hurricane Center. Areas that experienced flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 may witness even more severe flooding with Florence. These are a few of the rivers the National Weather Service is watching for major to perhaps record-breaking flooding:


The remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia is forecast to receive 5-10 inches with isolated amounts of up to 15 inches.

Florence “Eyes” Down Northeast:

By the start of next week, Florence will begin to impact the Ohio River Valley and Northeast as it takes a turn to the north and gets sped up by the jet stream. On Sunday, the center of the cyclone will be located over the southern Appalachian Mountains, bringing rain, some of which will be heavy, to the region. This rain will overspread into the eastern Ohio River Valley as well, including eastern Kentucky.

Then on Monday, Florence will move into the eastern Ohio River Valley, dumping heavy rain for that area as well as to much of the Mid-Atlantic. The most widespread of rain will be found in the central Appalachian Mountains, while showers impact the I-95 corridor in the Mid-Atlantic. New England should remain dry until Monday night. The best risk for heavy rain on Monday will be West Virginia and western Virginia and Pennsylvania. This is the area we are most concern for flash flooding too. There will also be the wind component to this rain, with gusts possibly approaching or exceeding 45 mph, so isolated power outages will be possible.

On Tuesday, the center of Florence will track near New York City. Pressure will be around 995 millibars, so winds will be on the gusty side as heavy rain impacts the Tri-State Area. It’s this area that will experience the most widespread and heaviest of the rain, while much of the Mid-Atlantic and New England deals with lighter showers.

The heavy rain will then track into southern and central New England overnight Tuesday before Florence moves offshore and tracks out to sea Wednesday morning.

If flooding were to occur in the Northeast, it will not be as significant as what’s happening in the Southeast. Either way, it’s flooding. If you encounter it, don’t walk or drive through it. Some locations may receive over 6 inches of rainfall between this weekend and Tuesday night in the region.



Author

Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism as the University of Miami.

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