Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Updated! Florence.. Short Term Moving NW at 15 MPH. Long Term? Does She Stall? Slow Down? Loop? Make Landfall More than Once?

Intermediate Advisory.

A bit of dry air on her South Side.

Still a Major Hurricane.
But lowered wind speed.
Still moving NW at 16 MPH.
If you follow on Twitter....
...there has been much discussion on her true intensity.
Much speculation on her being lower... they showed at 8 PM.
Her presentation below is good.

She looks different tonight from this morning.
You can scroll down and see the difference.
Very round now.
Moving NW at 16 MPH.
Cone mostly the same.

There is low confidence after 72 hours still.
Nothing changes huh?
Oh wait... We now have TS Joyce.
Busy times...

Note at the top the NHC...
has links to the NWS in different cities.
That's good.

So here are my thoughts and I'm going clarify a bit as well. Forecasts are verified or busted by sometimes a matter of degrees and if timing and location don't verify you have to go back and see what was wrong to try and nail down any issues down the road. Currently Florence is NE of her forecast points, not by much but noticeable enough that everyone is talking about it. She moved faster than expected, she didn't slow down and intensify more but maintained her track and moved faster to the NW. Normally when a hurricane is North of 30 degrees latitude and it's a well formed hurricane moving NW it rarely turns back to the South. This could be that rare time. But at some point the NHC has to look at the location and speed vs the trof and high that is building that is forecast to stop her forward movement and see if they need to adjust their track. 

What's confusing is she is more on target with Saturday's 11 PM.
And even then she is NE of where she should be.

That cone is from Saturday EVENING.
Since then they moved it around a bit.
It was a pretty good forecast.
It verifies better than today.
What difference does a degree or two make?
Extrapolated over time it makes a difference.

Next important thing I wanted to say is that there are several different concerns here and it's not all about where she makes landfall or if she dips SW or continues inland West as if she's planning a stop at South of the Border. The state border of NC dips down near South Carolina East of 95 and so it could easily ride the border area towards Fayetteville just as easily as go further South into South Carolina IF ...big IF... it doesn't bobble along the coast moving SW. I'm sorry but there's much uncertainty about the track so I'm going to divide this into two parts.

1. Short term.
Florence is forecast to continue her current movement, slowing in speed as it approaches the coast and makes a landfall somewhere between the SC/NC border and the Southern Outer Banks abbreviated to SOBX as we write in North Carolina. That means any of these cities could find itself slammed by strong winds, high storm surf and a good swath of the border will see much destruction. We are talking from Morehead and Beaufort South to Wilmington to the little beach towns of Kure Beach, Carolina Beach and so forth down to Ocean Isle Beach, Bald Head Island and Myrtle Beach is in play if it slows it's forward speed. But the more it moves North the more that landfall is closer to Cape Lookout or Cape Fear.

This part of the world.
Storm surge, strong winds in low lying areas.
Beautiful homes along the beach...
..beach businesses and State Parks.
Time will tell.

2. Long Term Movement. 
Currently the models, most of the models, see a system moving towards the coast and Florence with a high that is building aloft that Cranky on Twitter refers to as a thin banana like ridge that is expected to trap Florence. Again timing is everything, as is the correct forecast for this high pressure ridge. 

Florence either moves into E NC creating possibly record flooding like we have had in the past.
Both Matthew and Floyd were horrible floods and some areas are still recovering from Matthew.
There are many river basins there and normally there are low lying areas with some swampy areas but when a hurricane comes every creek fills with water and rages into town destroying businesses, homes and lives. It wasn't so long ago we were here with Matthew. 


Florence bobbles out (still not sold on this one) and bobbles along the coastline SW parallel to the coast causing destruction and beach erosion over a large area. There would be less bad inland flooding in ENC but a long drawn out form of misery watching her crawl along the coastline. If half of her is over water she maintains energy and she can do damage along a large area. Either way even if she makes landfall in Wrightsville Beach places far to the South like Myrtle Beach will get some storm surge and high tides and well we have to see this play out to see the models are properly handling Florence's movement and in the past they not handled her perfectly. 


Florence moves inland through NC near the SC border as she was originally forecast to do before all the discussion of the SW dip came into play and where there are hills as the land begins to rise there are areas that will see flash flooding and record rainfall. If she gets inland past the Piedmont there is interaction with the mountains and this could be a rare inland fresh water flood event for North Carolina and parts of South Carolina.


Least likely but on the table she moves all the way down to near Savannah and the areas with upper elevation in Georgia could get record floods and Tybee and the other beaches in the Georgia area will be slammed by a tropical system and they are less likely slammed than OBX that uses a hurricane symbol on it's bumper stickers. The first sticker I bought when I was spending time here... 

IF she maintains strength and intensity.
I seriously doubt she makes the SW trek.
I could be wrong.
But a strong hurricane wants to go North.
If the ridge is narrow she could try busting into it.
If the ridge is strong she can get trapped.

So many intangibles.

As for me I'm watching.

I have two sets of kids going to Israel today.
Jewish holidays and family events.

My son in law Idan (from Israel) took pics for me.
My daughter said the trip was very bumpy near NC.
Miami to NYC... 

That's my grandson Harel looking out the windows.

Idan said at first it was nice... 
Like the pictures above.
Then they began flying over thick white clouds... was very bumpy but okay.
But noticeable.

Ironically in Raleigh an outer band showed up today.
I was watching the satellite imagery.

Note on the imagery below.
She is weak on her S and SW side.
That would be good if she goes SW along the coast.
The coast would be dealing with her weaker side.
Again things change in real time.

I went outside and watched this arcing cloud..
...approaching from where Florence is located.

Go figure we were looking at the same cloud.

Bottom line...this is the battleground.
It comes down to this..

You can see Florence.
You can see her just off shore really.
You can see the system in the upper left.
Above the system is the high that is expected to trap her.
It all comes down to timing.
If she gets further North than expected...
she might not slip as far South.
She could stall or loop.
Or slip down the coast.
Time will tell.

Thoughts from Cranky....

Wes is our local Raleigh weather source.

Allan Huffman is a great meteorologist.
He happens to live in Raleigh.

Allan in NY has been doing good solid graphics.

I want you to look at that map.
At landfall the wind and surge is important.
The fresh water flooding inland... 
... can be anywhere within that area.

This is the schedule for what we see in Raleigh.
For local advice check the NWS.

You can have flash floods far from landfall.
You can have strong gusty cells far from the landfall.
You can have Twisters in any of that region.
Isolated but a concern.

I'm concerned she is not totally in line with the forecast.
Yet the models are in good agreement.
So we watch, we wait and we follow official advice.
Weather often changes in real time.
If one area gets 18 inches and another 10..
..and the 18 inch area thought they'd get 10.
Trust me until it unravels....
 NO ONE can tell you for sure.

The NHC does the best it can.
Everyone does.

Keep reading I'll update later if something changes.
Note how different Florence looks below with earlier.

Black and white above.
Some color below.


Watch the loop below.
Watch where Florence has been...
...where she is going today.
High came down and pushed her West.
Orientation changed she responded. 
NW at 15 MPH.

latest72hrs.gif (947×405)

If this doesn't load the link is below.

The image I want you to look at it shown below. You can go back through my blogs and see the similar set up. Florence loves to push into dry air, more than almost any hurricane I've seen in ages, she just keeps pushing into dry air. She left Africa in a sea of SAL and was encapsulated by dry and she just kept pushing W or WNW into it and slowly eroding it. Back when she developed and the NHC kept her intensity at 70 MPH while busy with Gordon and didn't upgrade her to hurricane until an eye popped out. She is still dancing with SAL and she doesn't seem to care. She had shear blasted at her for days and only weakened eventually to come back to the same shape she had before she fell apart. She is different from most hurricanes in that she is huge in size and is intense and has the momentum going in her favor. At some point she should slow down and get caught in weaker steering currents, note I used the word "should" on purpose.
She has turned NW and is moving fast.
The image below shows why she is moving NW.
This may be short term movement.
But when you extrapolate NW at 15 MPH...
...she gains in latitude with every hour.

Note this is the 53rd time the NHC has written discussion on Hurricane Florence that formed back on August 30th as a strong CV wave. The link is below. It may seem difficult at first to read it but you get used to the words used and you get the feel for how the forecasters are thinking. A picture does not tell the whole story and the official Cone doesn't tell the whole story and if you don't believe me ask anyone who went through Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Opal. It's a cone, moved and changed often but the discussion shows you what is going through the forecaster's mind while trying to make a good forecast.

Salient points I feel you need to remember are highlighted by me, please read the whole discussion above. There is always foreshadowing, innuendo and hints as to where they may go on the next advisory.

Note in the paragraph above they are sure on the short term and not so sure on the long term. But this is what may influence Florence and she could go West as easily as WSW or SW so depending on what she actually does three days from now they will adjust the cone.

How many times can they say "72 hours"

They have low confidence on the exact track after 72 hours.
But they have a very good idea where it will be.
Who it MAY threaten and what it SHOULD do.

That's a definite maybe.

I'm not making fun but it reminds me of a great song.

I'm not making fun of the NHC......'s a difficult job especially with Florence.

And Florence has been a pain in the ass from the start.
She was forecast from day one to probably be a FISH storm.
She was forecast to move up into the Atlantic...
The far EASTERN Atlantic.
Never forecast to cross the Atlantic.

Because SAL.
SAL is still there.
So is Florence.
Florence is now forecast to lead everyone....
...on a huge chase.
The whole SE is trying to figure out what to do.
Orlando is in the Wind Probs.
Raleigh and Savannah have the same chances.
Asheville or Nashville?

Note two time stamps "near the coast"
Timing is everything with this forecast.
You mess up the timing...... mess up the location.

Wind probabilities show trends but remember one thing Dave Schwartz always said... what goes down often goes back up, the atmosphere is often in flow and the normal state of it is to go towards the poles. Major Canes more than others feel the Call of the North and want to go NORTH any chance they get. But we have a forecast showing a Major Cane trapped by a ridge and an iffy trof being fed by tropical moisture in the GOM to try and beat a Major Cane. Think of this as a game of cards. You have a Flush and a Royal Flush and a set of Queens ... someone else is holding a set of Kings. I'm pretty sure the Royal Flush beats the set of Queens and the set of Kings. No matter how good models are they do not change the general dynamics of hurricanes and how they work, move, operate and the history we have learned from showing how some hurricanes do not do what we think they will no matter how smart we are in 2018. Hurricanes can still be fickle and stubborn so keep watching.

The wind probs are from on the North end...

To Montgomery Alabama on the SW end...

As always the NRL map grid shows this in an image.

The NHC cone is always narrower.
The area that could feel wind follows the NRL.
Trust me on this......

Yes Virginia Orlando IS in the wind probs.

So I am NOT in the CONE...
...but I am in the Wind Probs.
It doesn't always line up.
You do what you got to do.

Now.. my thoughts.
Days ago I drew an extended cone.
Extrapolated cone.
Basically their cone is inside my cone.

September 6th I showed the extrapolation.
I figured the possible stall and slow down.
I've talked on a stall and/or loop for weeks.
Go back and read my blogs.
Especially 9/3/2018
I had the GA/SC in a possible cone...
as much as the NC/VA border.

The Canadian Cone I like.
Follows mostly the NHC
But timing is often different.
They change it differently sometimes.
There's was excellent by Sandy.

Let's go with Bald Head Island...
..for the first land fall.
Give or take 75 miles N/S.
Florence is still far out at sea.

Yes Florence MAY make TWO Landfalls.
Not sold on that.
She could just as easily move inland and slide over land West.
Or WSW making loops slamming everyone with rain.
She could move further inland towards Fayetteville..
..she could stall over East NC as many do.
She could go South to South of the Border.
This could be South of the Border's storm.
At some point her rain goes West or NW or NNW.
It's the way of the world.

Note her orientation again.

Let's stay with this picture.
Big wide eye.
She has less bulk on the SW side always.
She is always stronger on the NE side.
Unless she dives South (not likely)
That is not changing.
IF you have to have a hurricane just offshore.
Always better to be on her SW side... usually and in this case it's her weaker side.

Small bit of SAL left on her SW side.
She's mostly left it behind.
Awesome looking hurricane.

Link you can loop it and see her try and runaway from SAL.
Long loop, awesome.

Being honest...
..not much stops a huge Major Hurricane.
And Major Hurricanes really want to go North.
It's important how much latitude she gains...
before the big stall and slow down.

I want to say a few things. There has been so much hype and drama with this huge historic storm that it's reaching crazy levels. I live in Raleigh in a beautiful apartment on the 2nd floor in an area not prone to flooding with no creek or river nearby. There are some trees to my North but not on top of the apartment (near enough I was a bit worried) and not in a heavily forested house like where we lived for close to 8 years was more troublesome though it came through Fran fine. Yet people who know me and know no way and I am leaving if a hurricane is making landfall have been freaking out because Florence is the size of Alaska or something like that they saw online and they heard ALL of NC is going to be destroyed and "what am I going to do??" Everyone needs to breathe... I prepared, we shopped, we will hunker down and we will see what Florence finally does. This model or that model, this cone or that cone ... in the end it will be what Florence does. I'll write about it, if I have electric I will write endlessly and if I lose electric I'll write when as much as I can. If it goes SW I'll be writing long blogs trust me.

 I moved here after getting married in 2009? Who remembers, I traveled back and forth so much for the year before that I've basically been here for ten years. The first "beach" my husband took me to was Wilmington on a 80 degree day in March before a cold front went through the next day. He took me and my youngest son to the Outer Banks on Memorial Day Weekend. My daughter ended up attending NC State so we are part of the Wolfpack Nation and we spend a lot of time in Myrtle Beach as they have an awesome Chabad House (Google it) and it's a frequent get away. I have come to love Bogue Sound and adore Morehead and Atlantic Beach. We have taken our kids out on the NC Ferry that runs from one spot to another and I'm in love with Oriental (Sailboat Heaven) but don't get there enough. Jim Cantore is on my beach in Wrightsville (Wilmington's beach) and often the site of a landfalling hurricane. This is personal to me as I'd hate to see that beautiful part of the beach from SOBX to Myrtle Beach get destroyed by a out of control Hurricane. Happens, has happened and will again but often they find some escape hatch (usually a trough is stronger than it appears and they slide away to the Outer Banks or just offshore. Sometimes they make a bee line and ignore everything else and go inland as Fran did and Hugo did in South Carolina or the 1893 Sea Island Hurricane in Savannah and Tybee Island. Did I mention I love Tybee Island? That whole area is under the gun from an eventual possible landfall, but the odds are no matter what happens AFTER 72 HOURS ... somewhere near the border of SC and NC Hurricane Florence will go inland. Whether she goes inland slowly or fast doesn't matter as her huge rain shield will move in and over land... if she stalls out partially over water her engine has plenty of fuel. 

A very similar track isn't it.
My brother Ronnie has been obsessed with the similarity.
I've tried not to think on it..
..though I showed it the other day.
Adjust that a bit higher and you have Florence so far.

Sea Island Hurricane of 1893 had a similar track but further South .... as in it started further South and therefore came in further South. Georgia has just declared a State of Emergency. 

Note hurricanes are fickle.
IF steering currents are weak...they do odd things.
Often Major Hurricanes are not as fickle as Tropical Storms.
Why? Because they are more able to bust a ridge and go North.

Despite changes to turn it kept going.
Momentum. Stubborn.
Drove forecasters crazy.
It was forecast to turn before the Islands.
Before VI and PR.
Covered more real estate in the Caribbean..
..than most storms.
Note below many zig zagging storms.
Most Tropical Storms.

Besides Camille 1969 brought us 4 messy loopers.

Here's one that went SW the WHOLE WAY.
Note it was not a Cat 4.

1906 Storm
I've lectured on her in Florida often.

AGAIN these were not major hurricanes.
And it's bothering me that ....
.....I feel this is not being taken into consideration.
It's forecast to weaken.
Remember Matthew.

Matthew didn't fall apart near South America.
There was talk land interaction....
She was forecast to stay off shore.
She scraped Cape Kennedy but no official landfall.
She did eventually make landfall.
She did not make the forecast loop back to the South.

That forecast did not verify.
It went North as much as it could.
That's what Major Hurricanes do.
Especially huge big ones.

I have very low faith in anything after 72 hours.
Until I see how Florence slows... where she slows.
When she turns back to the WNW from NW.
How strong the trof gets ...
trust me is she has a chance she will grab it.
If not she is going to spread misery across the SE.
The whole DEEP SOUTH.
On the coast...
...deep inland.
Potential for Twisters is there.

Showing one last picture.
Look how long her tail is.
She is set up to suck up tropical moisture.
And she is going to dump it everywhere.

Her whole cloud signature is NOT the storm.I
The deep white inside is... 

From Georgia to Virginia we have prepared.
Now it's up to Florence.

Sorry this is so long.
But I owe you as I took off 2 days..
..for the Jewish High Holidays.
Today I'm dieting ;)
Good times with good people.

I'll update at the top small things.
Add some voices online down at the bottom.
Anything big changes I'll write a new blog.

Thank you for your patience.
And follow along with me on Twitter
@bobbistorm on Twitter
Besos BobbiStorm.

Ps... As always one of the best guys I know.
One of the best amateur mets I know.
Meteorologist is someone who studies meteorology.
And, people pay him so he is really...
A professional but amateur Meteorologist.
A good guy.
And he will tell you always...
Follow the advice of the NHC.
They are the bottom line.
He leads with them all the time!

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At 4:16 PM, Anonymous OVJordie said...

Bobbi I think it's time for the NHC to mention it NNW.
It's going to pass Wilmington!


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