A Quick Mid-Afternoon Update On Weakening Hurricane Florence

| September 14, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

FLORENCE MAY BE DOWNGRADED TO A TROPICAL STORM SOON

As of 2:00 pm ET: While Florence has weakened to a weak category one hurricane, life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force wind gusts continue to batter the Carolina coastline, along with torrential tropical downpours that could soon lead to catastrophic freshwater flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

Unfortunately, Wilmington Police Department can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was transported to NHRMC with injuries (from the Wilmington Police Department Twitter feed).

  • Maximum sustained winds are down to 75 MPH with gusts up to 90 MPH possible.
  • Minimum central pressure is up to 968 MB (28.58 inches).
  • Movement is to the west at 5 MPH.
  • As of 1:00 pm CT, the center of Florence is located around 35 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, NC, and around 35 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, SC.

Latest aircraft data continue to show that Florence has weakened, and additional slow weakening is expected today as the center of Florence moves farther inland, with more rapid weakening forecast over the weekend as Florence moves westward across South Carolina.

The largest danger from Florence will begin to transition over from storm surge flooding over to possible freshwater flooding from the extremely heavy rainfall later today. More than 14 inches of rain has already fallen in many areas across southeastern North Carolina, and more rain is still to come, which will cause disastrous flooding that will spread inland through the weekend.

KEY MESSAGES FROM THE NHC

1. A life-threatening storm surge is already occurring along portions of the North Carolina coast and will continue through today and tonight. This surge is also likely along portions of the South Carolina coast. The greatest storm surge inundation is expected between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and western Pamlico Sound.

2. Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down while it moves inland.

3. Damaging hurricane-force winds are occurring along portions of the North Carolina coast and are expected to spread to portions of the South Carolina coast later today. Strong winds could also spread inland into portions of the Carolinas over the next couple of days.

4. Large swells affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents.

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Scott Martin is a meteorologist, graphic artist, musician, husband, and a father. Scott is a member of the National Weather Association and the Central Alabama Chapter of the National Weather Association. Scott is also the co-founder of Racecast Weather, which provides accurate forecasts for many racing series across the USA.

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