Tropical-Storm-Force Winds Reach North Carolina

1st time in 10 years we have four named systems in the Atlantic Basin: Florence, Isaac, Helene and Joyce

Squally rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds already moving onshore of the outer banks of North Carolina due to Florence. The good news is that the intensity has gone down, but the bad news is that life-threatening storm surge and rainfall still expected. Cape Fear could see a 9 to 13 ft storm surge and some models are showing 20-30 inches of rain with isolated amounts of 40 inches around portions of the Mid-Atlantic states through next Tuesday.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today, then move near or over the coast of Southern North Carolina and Eastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday. It will slow down once it moves inland. The forecast calls for high pressure to nudge Florence Southward and then it will wait for a front to pick it up or whatever is leftover to the Northeast and back to the Atlantic Ocean. As this happens, significant flooding will be highly likely.

The main message is that Florence is a large hurricane and regardless of exactly where the center moves through, a good portion of the Mid-Atlantic states will see life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and damaging winds.

Isaac is expected to produce tropical-storm-force winds soon in the Leeward Islands. The system is weaker and the majority of the shower and thunderstorm activity is displaced to the East of the center. Moderate wind shear to the North is responsible. It will cross through the Caribbean islands later today and continue moving West over the next few days. It could be down to depression strength by Monday in the Central Caribbean.

In the meantime, 2-4 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of up to 6 inches possible.  Dangerous surf, rip currents and storm surge possible.

Sub-tropical Storm Joyce is drifting Southwestward and likely to transition into a regular tropical storm in the next 12 to 24 hours. The Azores need to keep a close eye on it.

Hurricane Helene is gradually weakening and on the forecast track likely to brush the Azores Sunday as a tropical storm before falling apart over the cold waters of the Northern Atlantic.

Keep it tuned to your Storm Station for the latest!

Vivian Gonzalez

Meteorologist, AMS Certified

WSVN Channel 7