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Hurricane FLORENCE


Hurricane Florence Discussion Number  50
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL062018
500 PM AST Tue Sep 11 2018

Microwave satellite data indicate that Florence completed a full
eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) a few hours ago, and recent visible
and infrared imagery suggests that the eye has contracted slightly.
Outflow continues to expand in all quadrants, and the outflow jets
to the northwest and east have become better defined. Satellite
intensity estimates from TAFB, SAB, and UW-CIMSS ADT are all
T6.0/115 kt, and recent NHC objective intensity estimates are
T6.2/120 kt. Given that the eye has mostly cleared out and has also
warmed to near 19 deg C, the initial intensity has been bumped
upward to 120 kt, which could be conservative. All of the wind radii
had to be expanded/increased based on a blend of the earlier
reconnaissance data and a 1430 UTC ASCAT scatterometer pass.

The initial motion estimate is now 300/15 kt. There remains no
significant to the previous track forecast or reasoning. Overall,
the global and regional models have done a good job capturing the
evolving synoptic- scale flow pattern across CONUS, with an
amplifying trough moving onshore the the northwestern U.S. coast,
which is inducing downstream ridging across the northeastern U.S.
and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Water vapor imagery indicates
that the blocking high pressure northwest of Bermuda is continuing
to build and shift slowly eastward. The 12Z GFS model made a
significant shift to the west, the UKMET made a shift to the east,
and the ECMWF track has remained basically unchanged through 72
hours. As a result the consensus models have made only minor track
shifts to the west. What is noticeable is that all of the global and
regional models are indicating that the steering currents will
collapse by 72 h when Florence is approaching the southeast U.S.
coast. The weak steering currents are expected to continue through
the weekend, which makes the forecast track on days 3-5 quite
uncertain. The latest NHC forecast track is very similar to the
previous two advisory tracks, and lies the middle of the guidance
envelope between the consensus models TVCA to the north and the HCCA
and FSSE models to the south.

During the next 24 hours or so, Florence is expected to remain in a
very favorable environment consisting of low shear near 5 kt, an
expanding upper-level outflow pattern, and above-average SSTs of
29.0-29.5 deg C, which should result in additional strengthening.
By 48 h, the decreasing forward speed along with the large
inner-core wind field should induce some upwelling and gradual
weakening. Although the GFS- and ECMWF-based SHIPS intensity models
are indicating an increase in the southwesterly shear to near 20 kt,
this could be due to the SHIPS model capturing Florence's own
strong outflow from the GFS and ECMWF model fields. Despite the
weakening shown at 72 hours, Florence is still expected to remain a
dangerous hurricane through landfall. After Florence moves inland,
the slow forward speed of less than 5 kt should cause a rapid spin
down and weakening of the hurricane's circulation. The new NHC
intensity forecast is a little above the highest guidance based on
the aforementioned very favorable synoptic outflow pattern, and to
maintain continuity with the previous forecast.

Key Messages:

1. A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along
portions of the coastlines of South Carolina and North Carolina, and
a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for a portion of this area. All
interests from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should
ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice
given by local officials.

2. Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant
river flooding is likely over portions of the Carolinas and
Mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week, as
Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and
moves inland.

3. Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the
coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Warning
has been issued for a part of this area.  Damaging winds could also
spread well inland into portions of the Carolinas and Virginia.

4. Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East
Coast will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf
and rip currents.


INIT  11/2100Z 27.5N  67.1W  120 KT 140 MPH
 12H  12/0600Z 28.7N  69.3W  130 KT 150 MPH
 24H  12/1800Z 30.4N  72.1W  135 KT 155 MPH
 36H  13/0600Z 32.1N  74.5W  130 KT 150 MPH
 48H  13/1800Z 33.4N  76.2W  120 KT 140 MPH
 72H  14/1800Z 34.5N  77.7W  100 KT 115 MPH...NEAR THE COAST
 96H  15/1800Z 35.0N  78.8W   40 KT  45 MPH...INLAND
120H  16/1800Z 35.7N  81.7W   25 KT  30 MPH...INLAND

Forecaster Stewart