We have a real doozy of a storm headed our way. Hurricane Florence, with the same name as the city in Northeast South Carolina where I live, is headed our way with all the fury of legendary storms of the past. Our governor has already warned that Florence has the potential for "stronger winds than Hugo and more rain than Matthew". Hugo was the catastrophic hurricane of 1989 that people still shiver a little to mention, and Matthew caused historic devastating floods two years ago. People are panicking, and rightly so. The governor closed schools yesterday afternoon until further notice, ordered the mandatory evacuation of all coastal counties, and major highways that run to those coastal counties have been reversed as of noon today---all lines only go one way, out. All coastal counties are also in the process of a mandatory evacuation of all hospitals and nursing homes. It's serious business. I don't usually think much of Governor McMaster, but his response to this situation has been solid. He said in yesterday's press conference that it's better to be inconvenienced than to risk losing lives unnecessarily. I feel pretty good about the emergency preparations taking place in the state right now.
Here's the latest weather update from one of our local weather guys:
Ed Piotrowski WPDE
TUESDAY 10:30AM FLORENCE UPDATE
Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches have been issued for much of the South Carolina coast and all of the North Carolina coast.
Florence is going through an eye replacement cycle and has weakened a bit, but is expected to strengthen when that's done. It's possible it could become a category 5 hurricane over the next day or so. All indications point to Florence being a major hurricane on final approach to the Carolina coast. Conditions will go downhill Thursday with landfall Thursday night or early Friday.
Overall, the track has changed very little over the past 24 hours. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center still shows Florence coming ashore in southeastern NC. IF that track didn't change, we would be on the weaker side of Florence with less wind and storm surge. Right now the odds of this scenario are 50%. This morning's model runs basically support the current track, but PLEASE do not let your guard down. The average error of the forecast track 2-3 days out is over 100 miles. IF Florence's track were to trend southward by 100 miles, we would bear the brunt of a category 4 hurricane. I still think the odds of that are 40%. There is no reason to take any chances. Prepare for the absolute worst and hope for the best. To sum it up, odds still favor a landfall in southeast NC, but a direct here is still on the table. See the two graphics I posted for what kind of wind would be possible with each scenario.
Lots of people asking about the European model showing a closer track to us. Of course, that is possible, but for what it's worth, so far with this hurricane, it has had one of the worst track records. With that said, the euro thinks the disturbance in the Caribbean sea will help to pump up the ridge off the coast forcing Florence closer to us. That cannot be discounted.
Phase 1 of Florence s the storm surge and wind potential. Phase 2 will be the potential for life-threatening flooding. The steering currents directing Florence are well established for now, but as Florence approaches the coast the steering currents will collapse, That means Florence will meander and drop extremely heavy rain...somewhere. Right now, its impossible to be specific, but eastern NC is most favored with 15-20" of rain possible. Keep in mind that slow-moving systems are often erratic in their movement and very difficult to forecast. IF Florence were to drift west after landfall in southeast NC, it would weaken but introduce the threat of extremely heavy rain in our area. I've talked about this possibility for days so PLEASE no it is possible.
It’s a very complicated forecast so things are going to change. I’ll keep you posted.
I will be LIVE ON FACEBOOK at 7:30pm. Note the change from my normal time of 8pm.
Gregg and I aren't too worried. We have plenty of non perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, candles, camp stove fuel, and dog food put aside. I've bought extra snacks, ice (which will keep for days in our big chest freezer) and liquor to pass the time if we're stranded without electricity for a few days. Speaking of liquor, this popped up on my Facebook feed a little while ago from a local spirits, wine, and party supply store...
May not be bread, milk or water...but we have you covered for Hurricane Florence.
And in the true spirit of South Carolinians facing a hurricane, here are a few funny memes that I've enjoyed this morning.