Florence Weakens to a Tropical Storm

Former Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical storm on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Florence was located at latitude 25.1°N and longitude 49.8°W which put it about 1035 miles (1665 km) east-southeast of Bermuda.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 993 mb.

An upper level trough west of former Hurricane Florence produced strong southwesterly winds which blew across the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused strong vertical wind shear and Florence weakened into a tropical storm.  Thunderstorms dissipated in rainbands in the western half of the tropical storm.  The ring of thunderstorms around the eye weakened and the western side of the eyewall was disrupted.  However, a distinct low level center of circulation persisted.  Thunderstorms northeast of the center still generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away to the northeast.

Tropical Storm Florence could weaken further on Friday because it will still be in the area of strong vertical wind shear.  However, as long as the lower part of the circulation remains intact, Tropical Storm Florence will be likely to strengthen during the weekend.  Florence is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move over even warmer water during the weekend.  When Florence moves farther west, it will move into an area where the upper level winds are weaker and the wind shear will decrease.  Tropical Storm Florence is likely to intensify back into a hurricane during the weekend.

Tropical Storm Florence will move south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a generally west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track, Florence could be southeast of Bermuda by Monday.  Florence could approach the east coast of the U.S. later next week.