Meteorologist's Reaction to Hurricane Florence: 'Wow'

It's now a Category 4 storm with 115mph winds
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2018 1:05 PM CDT
Meteorologist's Reaction to Hurricane Florence: 'Wow'
This photo provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as it threatens the US East Coast.   (NASA via AP)

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus had a three-letter reaction to the news that Hurricane Florence is now a category 4 storm with 115mph winds and higher gusts. "Wow," he tweeted. Most other reports are using the word "catastrophic," in keeping with how the National Hurricane Center describes a Category 4 hurricane: "catastrophic damage will occur." The storm is currently expected to careen into the Carolina coast on Thursday or early Friday, and USA Today reports North Carolina is already in preparation mode: Gov. Roy Cooper has requested a federal declaration disaster, and Cape Hatteras Island is under a mandatory evacuation order for Monday; Duck and Corolla face the same order for Tuesday.

  • That's not all from Holthaus: "As much as 48 inches of rain could fall," he tweeted. "For perspective, that's almost *double* the previous all-time record for an East Coast hurricane. Unfathomable." He also asked meteorologist Philip Klotzbach (who specializes in "Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts") about the storm's rapid intensification and got this answer: "It has intensified by 40 mph in the past 13 hours. The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location is Hurricane Humberto (2007)."

  • USA Today reports the National Weather Service has put the rainfall totals at closer to 20 inches, but notes that could still lead to "days or weeks" of flooding. AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi tells the paper North and South Carolina and Virginia have experienced heavy rain in recent days, meaning an already soaked ground could make the situation worse.
  • Klotzbach also noted that Florence is joined by Helene and Isaac in the Atlantic, making it just the 11th time on record where there were at least three hurricanes in the Atlantic at the same time. He tweeted the other years: 1893, 1926, 1950, 1961, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1998, 2010, and 2017.
  • As for Florence's still-uncertain path, explains a hard hit on the East Coast is likely. Here's the science of why: "The key to Florence's path hinges on the strength and westward extent of a dome of high pressure aloft, which is developing and will strengthen north of Florence over the western Atlantic Ocean Monday and Tuesday. That bullish high-pressure ridge is expected to be strong enough and far enough west to push Florence to the Southeast coast."
  • NPR notes the storm is already 500 miles wide, suggesting a large area may be impacted.
  • If it hits the East Coast north of Georgia as a Category 4, it would join an exclusive club, per The only previous storms to fit that criteria are Hugo (1989), Gracie (1959), and Hazel (1954).
  • has some helpful (albeit early) charts for East Coasters regarding potential impacts. You can view the National Hurricane Center's latest maps as they're updated here.
  • Get hurricane preparedness tips here.
(More Hurricane Florence stories.)

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