Tracking Florence: Florence upgraded to a Hurricane
As of Sunday afternoon, Florence has been upgraded to a Hurricane. We are growing increasingly confident that the storm will make landfall some place along the Eastern seaboard. Several models are indicating the storm will make landfall someplace between Myrtle Beach, SC and Cape Hatteras, NC. However, The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has put Savannah region and Hilton Head in the cone of uncertainty. The reason we're in the cone is because we are still a day or two away before knowing exactly where Florence will hit. A shift of 100 miles could be the difference between us just seeing strong winds and some rain versus Hurricane Force Winds of 74 miles per hour or higher and Flash Flooding. Even if the eye of the storm moves over Myrtle Beach, the Savannah region could still see winds anywhere from 30-70 mph, minor to moderate coastal flooding, increases in the sizes of waves and some moderate rainfall. According to the models as of Sunday afternoon, its looking increasingly likely the South Carolina area will see a bigger brunt of the storm than Georgia. However, this could change over the next 48 hours based on the storm's track. Part of the reason is due to what’s called the Bermuda High. Mother Nature essentially uses it to guide storms. Depending on how large it is, it can steer storms into the Eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico or keep them out to sea.
Today if you head to the beach, you may begin to see an uptick in rip currents and slightly higher waves.
Hurricane Florence is about 700 miles away from Bermuda with maximum winds at 75 mph. It is expected to intensify either tonight or Monday. By Tuesday night, we believe Florence will strengthen to a Category 3 Hurricane. That means we could see winds in excess of 111 mph along with flooding, trees being uprooted and significant damage to homes and roads. Some models have even suggested Florence could become a Category 4 hurricane by the time it makes landfall.
The number 1 question I have been getting from viewers is, "If Florence hits Savannah, when would it make landfall?" The short answer is, it's complicated. The earliest we could see Florence's impact could be Wednesday. However the full brunt of the storm would likely happen on Thursday nightor Friday. We could see it's effects earlier in the week in terms of increased winds and much large swells along the coast. We are still more than five days away so a lot can change that could impact the storm’s speed and direction. So that’s why I have shied away from giving a specific time table.
It’s also worth mentioning that even if Florence misses us, there are two other storms brewing right behind it. The NHC named Tropical Storm Helene on Friday night. Last night, the NHC will also named Tropical Storm Isaac. Both have a long way to go before reaching the U.S. becausd right not they're closer to the coast of West Africa.
We still have another two months of Hurricane Season. Now is the time to review your Hurricane Plan. You should identify your evacuation route, your backup route and where you would go if a hurricane were to hit. Experts recommend you have at least five days’ worth of water, cash and medicine to least for two weeks. Don’t forget about your animals too!