5 PM Update…Florence forecast track adjusted quicker into the coast near the NC/SC state line late Friday evening. Florence is just offshore Wilmington, NC Friday afternoon. Immense storm surge ahead for NC Coast.
At 5PM EDT Category 3 Hurricane Florence was located at 30.9N/72.5W or about 385 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC moving northwest at 16 mph with top wind 120 mph and surface pressure 949 MB. Today’s trend is a little weaker and still moving right along toward the northwest. NOAA/NHC said at 5PM “While the hurricane hasn’t strengthened in terms of wind, the inner and outer core wind field continues to expand resulting in an increase in total cyclone energy which will create a significant storm surge event”. NOAA maintains a 9-13 foot storm surge forecast stretching from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC. The 9-13 foot storm surge may extend farther south toward Myrtle Beach based on the projected landfall near the NC/SC border.
Florence continues to ride the steering current provided by the southwest side of the Bermuda High. NOAA/NHC states this steering collapses completely in 48 hours. At that time the eye of Florence will be very close to the North Carolina coast – just east of Wilmington, NC. The NOAA/NHC forecast track turns Florence southwestward and inland near the NC/SC state line Friday late evening. The new forecast track is faster to the coast and further north at landfall.
Florence will be a major category 3 hurricane at landfall.
We have a new tropical storm, but it’s not the Gulf system (95L). Subtropical Storm Joyce forms in the central North Atlantic. This system is forecast to become a full tropical storm tonight. Joyce will meander into the weekend finally moving northeastward toward the Azores in 4-5 days. During the 5-day period Joyce remains a tropical storm.
Adding Joyce to the list of active tropical cyclones makes 4 and 95L could be the fifth (at one time) Friday. NOAA/NHC states that 95L has a 70% chance to become a tropical storm prior to moving inland late Friday in southern Texas.
Isaac remains a tropical storm approaching the eastern Caribbean. The 5-day forecast track puts Isaac southwest of Jamaica next Monday as a weak system. A turn toward the Gulf of Mexico is not expected but close monitoring is required. If Isaac can get out of the deep tropics still intact re-intensification could occur.
Helene is still a hurricane but weakens to a tropical storm tomorrow heading for U.K. in 6 days as a subtropical storm.