Hurricane Florence expected to impact southeast this week
As of Monday afternoon, Hurricane Florence is a Category 4 Hurricane. That means the storms has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. The central pressure continues to fall. This is an indication that the storm is gaining strength. We’re not surprised about that because the water Florence is moving over is pretty warm; around 85 degrees or higher. Hurricanes need at least 80 degrees to maintain their current state or strengthen.
No watches or warnings have been issued yet. I anticipate sometime within the next 24 hours, The National Weather Service will begin issuing Hurricane Warnings and Watches for portions of the eastern seaboard.
Florence is about 1,400 miles away from Charleston, S.C. As of Monday afternoon, the eye of the storm is expected to make landfall between North Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Wilmington, NC. This however does not mean we won’t see any effects of Florence. The closer you are to the South Carolina/North Carolina border, the more likely you’ll see stronger winds and greater rainfall totals. While the northern portion of our area is still in the cone of uncertainty, I am growing more confident that Savannah region won’t see the harshest part of the storm. We will see an uptick in wind gusts ranging from 30-70 mph starting on Wednesday afternoon. I think Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties will also see moderate to heavy rain showers on Thursday and Friday. However, it will be nothing like what Northern portions of South Carolina will see. Rainfall estimates range anywhere from 10-30 inches of rain with the most being closer to the NC/SC borders. For areas closer to Hilton Head, you’ll like see no more than 5 inches of rain.
Coastal communities do have a moderate risk of some flooding. I also anticipate seeing some downed power lines due to the expected wind gusts and cancelled flights. This will be a larger problem for areas in South Carolina. I think Savannah and areas south of Savannah won’t see much rain. However, you will notice the larger waves along the coast. Areas in inland Georgia and closer to Macon will likely see clear and dry weather.
It is important to note that Florence could still shift further West putting the track closer to Charleston and Hilton Head, S.C. This is why areas north of Savannah are still in the cone of uncertainty. However, as we get closer to Thursday, we will have a better idea of how much rain our Northern communities get. Initial estimates are 1-5 inches, but that could change based on the track.
If you have any outdoor furniture or animals, I would highly suggest bringing them indoors on Wednesday afternoon. The weather is expected to only go downhill from there.
It’s also worth mentioning that even if Florence misses us, there are two other storms brewing right behind it. Hurricane Helene and Hurricane Isaac are both developing in the Atlantic Ocean. Neither poses a threat for us right now, however, it is something I continue to monitor. As of now, Isaac will continue West and may impact areas like Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Helene for now is expected to stay out to see and not impact any land.
We still have another two months of hurricane season.
While I’m growing increasingly confident that we will not see the full brunt of the storm, I encourage you to review your hurricane plan. Identify your evacuation route, your backup route, just in case it becomes blocked, where would you go if a hurricane were to hit, and what’s inside your “go bag.” Experts recommend you have at least five days’ worth of water, full tank of gas, cash, medicine to last for at least two weeks and clothes. Don’t forget about your animals too!