Joe’s Weather Blog: Florence ashore…marathon rains ahead…and we need some rain again (FRI-9/14)

Happy TGIF! Overall more summer type weather is on tap for the area for another 5-6 days although we’re starting to sniff out a stronger cold front for later next week…and also the next chance of some widespread rains in the region…but it will be awhile it appears. Warm to hot weather will continue till that next front gets here and temperatures will be running about 10° above average till that happens (at least for highs).

Meanwhile Florence is ashore, at least as of this writing. The focus has shifted from wind and surge to flooding rains…and that focus will continue through the weekend.

So far, as of early this afternoon some 700,000 customers are without power and with saturated soil conditions and gusty 40+ MPH winds…trees will be coming down and power lines will follow.

More on Florence in the discussion:



Forecast:

Tonight: Fair and pleasant with lows in the 60s

This weekend: Sunny skies with PM clouds and highs in the upper 80s



Discussion:

I’ve got to admit I’m hitting a wall writing about Florence. The storm had some curveballs but overall, aside from the intensity part of the forecast..the hurricane forecasters who predicted the path of Florence did and incredible job with it from days out.

I mean that is ridiculously incredible accuracy!

Florence came ashore at category 1 hurricane at around 6:15 CDT this morning near Wrightsville Beach, NC

In the end the storm will be remembered more for the flooding and the surge than for the actual wind values at landfall. There were still some gusts over 100 MPH…including Wilmington at 105 MPH

The hurricane is barely holding on to that status and in all honesty I haven’t seen any sustained winds close to hurricane strength for awhile now. At 1PM there were 40-65 MPH winds near the eastern NC coast.

Here is the official updated information from the NHC

Radar…

and local radar from Wilmington, NC

and Columbia, SC

I just saw a tweet…perhaps with the 1st casualties of the hurricane.

The storm surge exceeded 9’…and also affected areas inland…towards New Bern, NC where 100s needed to be rescued.

This was expected according to the forecast storm surge.

This image shows why…the winds with the circulation of the storm force the Ocean waters up the River where New Bern is located…the water has now where to go and flooding results.

(image via: Tradewind Aviation International)

The focus now shifts to the rain that’s fallen…some 15″ in spots, and what’s coming. There have been some quality control issues with the rain gauges in a few of the totals that are on the higher end of things…I’ve seen a couple of outlier amounts be called into question this morning.

The record rain in the state is more than 24″…this will easily be broken and it’s even possible it can almost be doubled.

Model trends continue to be prolific with rain…and hence flooding. Some higher resolution modeling suggest 2-3 feet more rain may fall.

This flooding disaster is going to be a slow and unfolding one. It will consume the weekend down there and in some ways be reminiscent of what happened during Harvey in Texas…it just sort of kept happening and happening.

From a wind standpoint…here are the highest gusts on a map

It’s still an impressive circulation…

Our feature photo comes from Sandi Mitchell Johnson‎ up in Lathrop, MO…taken a couple of days ago.

Joe

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