Hurricane Florence: Arrival Time, Rainfall Forecast, Flooding Predictions

Hurricanes are unpredictable, but there's more data than ever.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is hurtling toward the East Coast of the United States. While reports from NOAA and an Air Force Reserve unit hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that Florence’s winds decreased slightly overnight from 140 to 130 mph, it remains a Category 4 hurricane.

It is expected to be extremely dangerous through Thursday night when it’s forecasted to arrive on the coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Florence was about 950 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at 15 mph, according to the agency.

Here are eight meteorological charts that show Florence’s power. A lot of elements with a hurricane are unpredictable, but there’s more real-time data than ever to inform forecasts.

8. Projected Arrival Times of Hurricane Florence

Mandatory evacuations have already been issued for parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, where tropical storm force winds are expected to reach late Wednesday night.

7. How Florence Compares to Past Category 4-5 Hurricanes

Storms this intense don’t usually reach so far north. The last time a Category 4 hurricane hit North Carolina was when Hurricane Hazel made landfall in 1954.

6. The Gulf Stream Current Makes Conditions Right for a Hurricane

One of the reasons why hurricanes tend to hit areas slightly lower in latitude is because they need a combination of warm water, moist air, and converging surface winds to survive. When water is hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, storms can draw heat energy from the surface of the water, just like a straw sucks up a liquid. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current moving north along the coast of Florida toward North Carolina, just so happens to provide these conditions for Hurricane Florence.

5. Hurricane Florence as Seen From Space

OK, this is a photo, but the International Space Station captured dramatic views of the eye of the storm as it was developing yesterday. It’s certainly a clear piece of visual information as to the power of Hurricane Florence.

4. Storm Surge Watches Along the East Coast

The National Hurricane Center also issued a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch for the East Coast of the United States from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. The agency warned “there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.”

3. Hurricane Florence’s Rainfall Forecast

everal meteorologists are more concerned with the amount of rainfall Hurricane Florence might bring. If Florence slows down and sits in one area for a couple days, as models predict, it may result in two to three feet of rainfall.

2. Hurricane Florence’s Potential Flooding Impact

It’s a recipe for a flooding disaster. Not only are the coastal communities likely to be impacted heavily populated, but the surrounding areas out west are mountains, which could increase flooding threat and potential for landslides.

1. How National Oceanic and Atmospheric Is Tracking Florence

Officials are keeping close track of Hurricane Florence, as a lot still needs to be ironed out in terms of the storm’s exact landfall, and strength at landfall. But in the meantime, local and national weather agencies suggest that everyone in the area take steps to protect important documents, property, and pets.

See also: Hurricane Florence Evacuation: South Carolina Has Turned I-26 Into a One-Way Street

You can track NOAA in near-real time with the NOAA GOES-East Image Viewer.

Hurricane Florence as spotted by the NOAA GOES-EAST Image Viewer at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on September 11.
Hurricane Florence as spotted by the NOAA GOES-EAST Image Viewer at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on September 11.