As you know, our Friday Morning WeatherOptics Briefing is usually comprised of the top weather stories in the US and how you may be impacted by them. However, with one story in particular dominating the headlines on this Friday morning, we’ve prepared a special briefing focused entirely on now-Tropical Storm Florence and it’s increasingly worrisome future track towards the US eastern seaboard.
This is your Friday Morning Briefing. Let’s dive right in.
An Overview of Tropical Storm Florence:
Tropical Storm Florence Friday Morning / TropicalTidbits
- After attaining major hurricane status for the last two days, Florence has weakened rather significantly into a tropical storm, with shear battering its inner core
- As we mentioned in this breakdown article two days ago, further weakening of Florence allows the storm to drift further to the west rather than to the north. This increases the chance of landfall occurring on the mainland US. This morning we’re seeing the storm move almost due west.
- Shear is expected to relax over the next 24-48 hours, allowing Tropical Storm Florence to restrengthen and become a hurricane once again. Guidance is in agreement that by early next week Florence will re-attain major hurricane status, possibly pushing category 3 or 4 strength.
- The NHC will begin sending flights into Florence to collect more data and improve future model guidance over the next few days.
Potential for US Impact from Florence is Increasing:
00z ECMWF ensemble tracks for Florence / weathermodels.com
The chances that Florence turn out to sea and misses the US entirely is dwindling. Model guidance is continuing to show a near record-breaking ridge to the north of the system that will ultimately force it uncomfortably close to the US coastline. You’ll notice while there is certainly still a large spread among guidance on the exact track of Florence, nearly every EPS ensemble member shows some type of US impact, whether it’s Florida or New Jersey.
- Model guidance continues to trend towards Florence making impact along the eastern seaboard with near record-breaking ridging to the north of the storm.
- There is continued agreement among deterministic operational model guidance, with the GFS, ECMWF, GEM, and UKMET all showing landfall ranging from South Carolina to the Delmarva.
- It’s certainly time to begin taking this threat more seriously and considering what a major landfalling hurricane would mean for the eastern seaboard later next week. If this solution holds for another 24-48 hours, it’s time to begin expecting major and life threatening impacts from Florence. The WeatherOptics meteorology team is currently leaning towards this outlook.
- The two biggest components that need to be watched are the ridge to the north of Florence and the trough to the northeast. So far, these two components continue to trend in a direction that suggests a major hurricane making landfall in the US.
Florence is in a Highly Unique Position that Cannot be Ignored:
Hurricane models for Tropical Storm Florence / NCAR
Looking back at history and comparing previous storms to Tropical Storm Florence won’t do any good here. CLP5 (red track to the far right) shows historically where a storm in Florence’s current position should track. You can see that at this latitude and longitude, Florence should be taking a hard right turn out to sea. With such an anomalous ridge to the north though, all hurricane model guidance is in agreement that Florence continues tracking in a WNW direction for the next 100+ hours towards the US coastline.
500 mb 3-week Climatological Percentiles / Tomer Burg
Looking more specifically at this massive ridge overtop of Florence, you can see that it’s on the extreme upper end of climatology, again suggesting that looking back at history won’t do very much when trying to determine where the storm will head next. This setup screams an east coast impact from a hurricane.
We will continue to update you on Florence over the next week as the chances of a major hurricane impacting the US eastern seaboard likely continues to increase. Everyone from Florida to southern New England needs to start paying close attention to this storm, as whoever gets impacted will have to go through some extremely serious and life-threatening weather.