The peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is Sept. 10, and right on schedule, the Atlantic Basin has come to life with numerous areas of concern. Foremost among those is Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to restrengthen into a hurricane Sunday and looks increasingly likely to hit the East Coast.
North Carolina already declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm on Friday. Virginia and South Carolina followed suit on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Florence has sustained winds of 70 mph as of 11 p.m. Saturday evening and is located 790 miles southeast of Bermuda. The storm is moving west at 6 mph.
Florence is still a tropical storm, but is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday, and a major hurricane again on Monday.
The storm is forecast to move generally in a westward direction over the coming days, with an increase in forward speed during the early part of the week. On this path, Florence will track over the warm waters off the southeast U.S. coastline.
As Florence moves west, the wind shear will decrease, allowing Florence to become more organized and intensify. There is a possibility of significant intensification in the early part of next week.
A ridge of high pressure moving in from the central U.S. is expected to move toward the Northeast by midweek. This ridge of high pressure will cause a blocking pattern and steer Florence dangerously close to, or into, the East Coast of the U.S. by midweek. The forecast track shows Florence’s forecast path approaching the southeast U.S. coastline late next week.
The risk of direct impact by Florence on the East Coast is rising. Most of the models are now showing Florence having a direct and major impact to the East Coast in the upcoming week. It is important to note that there is considerable uncertainty five days out, making it too soon to determine the magnitude and timing of potential major impacts to the East Coast.
The immediate threat this weekend will be large swells and dangerous rip currents along the East Coast due to the storm.