Good Wednesday bloggers,
Hurricane Florence is a category 3 and will maintain its strength as it makes it to the North Carolina coast Thursday night and Friday. It may briefly become a cat 4 as it moves over the warm gulf stream waters. It only needs 10 mph more winds to become a cat 4.
As of 4:30 PM Wednesday the satellite showed that the eye wall was not totally surrounded with major thunderstorms. So, the strength has dropped to 120 mph. It will likely gain strength overnight, but the Hurricane Center keeps it a cat 3 until landfall.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Here is the latest data from our in house model. It shows the eye right on the coast of North Carolina southwest of Wilmington. Wilmington, NC is getting pounded.
FRIDAY NIGHT: The storm has drifted southwest into South Carolina and it is still pouring in southern North Carolina. If the storm stays offshore as it tracks southwest it will not weaken much. If it tracks southwest, just inland, then it will weaken, but still produce insane amounts of rain.
Regardless whether Florence drifts southwest inland or not, 20″ to 40″ of rain is possible across southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina. This would create catastrophic flooding.
Why is the storm meandering once it reaches the USA? The steering currents are very weak as the main jet stream is located well to the northwest from California to Hudson Bay. There are a bunch of wandering features across the southeast 3/4 of the USA. The jet stream will sag south next week, bringing our next rain chances. This will also take Florence into the Tennessee Valley and likely into Ohio before exiting the USA next week across New England.
The best chance of organized thunderstorms through Sunday will be across the northern Plains.
We are in for some great end of summer weather with highs mostly in the 80s and lows mostly in the 60s. It will be a bit humid as well.
Thursday morning may start with areas of low clouds and fog.
Have a great night and Thursday.