Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall — Now What?

finger lakes weather forecast hurricane florence september 14 2018 landfall wilmington nc
Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, NC early Friday morning. This storm will continue to cause problems well into next week.

Florence Meanders Inland, Eventually Northward

Hurricane Florence is making its way inland on Friday and will very slowly work across the Carolinas before turning north up the Appalachians and into the Northeastern United States.

Florence came on shore near Wilmington, North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were 90 mph with higher gusts.

Torrential rains continue across the Outer Banks and southern North Carolina, while very little rain has yet to fall in South Carolina.

The wind with Florence will continue to drop as the hurricane is cut off from the ocean and interacts with land. However, with very slow movement over the next 24-48 hours, a river of ocean moisture will continue to pump inland to the east of the center of Florence.

Rainfall amounts over 20 inches are expected to be widespread across southeastern North Carolina resulting in life-threatening flooding of epic proportions. Rain amounts over 10 inches are likely across most of southern North Carolina and the northeastern half of South Carolina.

Some areas will see nearly constant rain through the entire weekend and will not see an end to the rain until Monday.

Path Early Next Week

Uncertainty in the path of Florence next week is very high. An area of heavy rain is likely, but it is too early to pinpoint where it will be. The risk seems greater to the south of the Finger Lakes, but this is far from a certainty. Click the map to enlarge.

The forecast for Florence beyond the weekend continues to shift and evolve. There is still a great deal of uncertainty, especially when dealing with whether a specific location will see rain from Florence and how much.

Rain from tropical systems that have moved inland often behaves in strange ways that models have a difficult time predicting. Trying to estimate those oddities several days in advance is nearly impossible.

Still, patterns are evolving on the models and some basic conclusions can be drawn.

After creeping across the Carolinas, Florence should turn north with heavy rain along the spine of the Appalachians. The mountainous terrain will likely help squeeze extra moisture out of this system while also enhancing run-off with the steepness of the land. I am very concerned for significant flooding throughout the mountains of Virginia.

From there, Florence will lift north towards Pennsylvania and gradually turn northeast, then east. A band of very heavy rain is likely, along with some strong wind gusts over 35 mph.

Early estimates show rain amounts in excess of four inches are likely within this band, and possibly much more. What is very uncertain is where this band will set up, and whether a secondary area of heavy rain will set up on the fringe edge of this system.

Both of those possibilities will have a large impact on the weather in the Finger Lakes next Tuesday. Again though, it remains too early to make a real guess at what we may see other than to say the risk seems greater to our south.

Friday & Weekend Forecast

Live Florence Radar Stream

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Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). Drew and his wife have four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.