The much advertised weakening of Hurricane Florence to a tropical storm occurred yesterday and last night as the stormed move into an area of hostile upper air winds. The distorted nature of the satellite signature of Florence shows the clouds tops being blown away to the northeast. However Florence has still maintained a solid core overnight and upper air winds are forecast to begin relaxing today. The weakening should level off shortly if it hasn’t already and then we expect Florence to start strengthening again over the weekend. The weaker nature of the system has turned it more toward the west. This is an important development. Less northward component of motion increases the probability that Florence misses the weakness and does not recurve into the open waters of the Atlantic.
Overnight weather models show Florence taking a mostly westerly course. While the spread between the global models continues the spread is narrowing. All three models show a growing threat for the East Coast later next week but I won’t take this seriously until I see Florence get west of 60 degrees west which should occur Sunday night or early Monday and then the next hurdle after that is getting to 70 west and south of 30 N because from there we can determine where the greatest risk is going to be along the Eastern Seaboard.
Assuming Florence jumps the hurdles ahead the overnight models are very clear that the strength of the ridge is key here. The upper high to the northeast of the storm is strong on all models but it is strongest on the European and weakest on the GFS model (relatively speaking). In the end the subtle changes of that ridge will mean everything regarding track. Hurricane tracking models remains split in the longer term but they will likely begin tightening up in the coming days.
THANKS TO TROPICAL TIDBITS FOR THE USE OF MAPS
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We are going to be dealing with clouds for most of the next several days which will also put a cap on temperatures. Some passing showers could show up on the radar at times given the proximity of the front to the south but most of the day should be dry. Temperatures today won’t get out of the 70s.
A weak wave on the front could bring a little rain overnight into Saturday morning but the dry air to the north will attempt to bleed southward. I would not be surprised to see some breaks of sun develop over the weekend with Sunday likely being the better of the two weekend day but also the coolest. Highs will be in the low to mid 70s on Saturday and in the 60s to near 70 on Sunday.
The front starts to come back northward Sunday night and Monday and there will be some showers from this as the warm front slowly pushes through. Monday’s highs will be in the 70s. Then as an upper high builds back into the Northeast we will be back to warm and humid conditions for Tuesday and Wednesday with some sunshine returns and highs back into the 80s. That upper high of course is key to Florence which by then could be nearing the Eastern Seaboard.
Florence weakened to a tropical storm last night thanks to the strong wind shear that developed. This also turned the weaker storm to the west which is very important regarding its position in the long term. The next hurdle Florence will attempt to jump is the trough in the upper atmosphere. All indications are that Florence will miss this weakness and continue westward toward the US East Coast. We are also beginning to see a tightening up of various weather models regarding the track but the specifics remain rather wide in the longer term. If Florence is going to be a threat it will like be Thursday and Friday of next week. Assuming that models are correct Florence will reach 30N/70W some time Tuesday night. From here it will be anyone’s guess at this point. All options are on the table. The upper high cradling the storm will determine how far west Florence gets as it begins to gain latitude. We will examine the European and other models this morning for comparison.
MANY THANKS TO TROPICAL TIDBITS FOR THE USE OF MAPS
Please note that with regards to any tropical storms or hurricanes, should a storm be threatening, please consult your local National Weather Service office or your local government officials about what action you should be taking to protect life and property.