The forecast track of Florence has shifted a bit south today, but impacts for Virginia are still expected to be potentially significant due to heavy rain and wind threats, particularly Friday and Saturday. There are some signs, though, that central Virginia could miss our worst-case expectations. There will be NO CERTAINTY as to track and impacts until time draws closer, so we'll continue to monitor and prepare for major weather impacts. Remember, this is a MAJOR hurricane that will have a wide scope of wind and rain.
Here is the latest track from NHC, showing landfall over southeastern NC early Friday, then a slow drift to the west with rapid weakening.
Rainfall amounts for Virginia have been reduced by the Weather Prediction Center, but high totals (in some cases in excess of 10 inches), will be possible over portions of the Virginia Piedmont. Richmond is in the 6" or more category; certainly enough to cause flooding, though substantially lower than previous forecasts. Here is their latest Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) map. Note the EXTREMELY high totals over southeastern NC near the landfalling storm.
Storm Surge along the coast and Bay will be significant, regardless of track
Here is the wind forecast from NHC for the probability of tropical-storm force winds, Central and southern Virginia falls within the 50% and higher chance Friday and Saturday, the time period where we could see the strongest winds. Again, if the storm stays farther south in NC, our threat will be lowered.
Remember, a hurricane, even as it decays over land, is not a single point and wind and rain impacts will be felt hundreds of miles from the center.
Before then, even though it will be far offshore, increasing, dangerously high surf is expected up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
So: What do you do now? Prepare and keep tabs for the latest. We are getting plenty of advance notice for possible storm impacts late next week. FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAYS are in place beginning Thursday and lasting into the weekend. The earliest direct impacts from Florence would most likely hold off until Thursday, but preparations to protect life and property should begin as soon as possible.
Since updates come every few hours from NHC, look for the latest official guidance on the National Hurricane Center's website.
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