Tropical Storm Florence Still Dropping Heavy Rain on the Carolinas

Tropical Storm Florence was still dropping heavy rain on parts of the Carolinas on Saturday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Florence was located at latitude 33.6°N and longitude 79.9°W which put it about 45 miles (75 km) south-southwest of Florence, South Carolina.  Tropical Storm Florence was moving toward the west at 2 m.p.h. (3 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina.

Although the inner core of Tropical Storm Florence continues to spin down slowly, the circulation covers much of North Carolina, South Carolina, and eastern Georgia.  The center and much of the circulation around Florence is over land, but strong inflow east of the center continues to transport moist air over North Carolina.  The strongest winds are occurring over the Atlantic Ocean in two rainbands east of the center.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 150 miles (240 km) east of the center of circulation over the Atlantic Ocean.  The winds over North Carolina and South Carolina are generally blowing at less than tropical storm force.  Thunderstorms in some rainbands could produce gusts to tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Florence has moved very slowly toward the west during the past 24 hours.  The extremely slow motion has allowed bands of showers and thunderstorms to persist over locations and rainfall totals have exceed a foot (0.3 meters) in some places.  Parts of the Cape Fear River and Trent River have already reached major flood levels.  Portions of the Neuse River are at moderate flood levels.  Sections of Interstates 95 and 40 are closed because of high water.

The high pressure system that has been blocking a northward movement of Tropical Storm Florence will start to shift to the east on Sunday.  The eastward movement of the high will allow Tropical Storm Florence to move a little faster and turn toward the northwest.  Florence could be over western North Carolina on Sunday evening.  Wind blowing up the eastern slopes of the will enhance rainfall.  Tropical Storm Florence will continue to drop heavy rain over North Carolina and South Carolina on Sunday.  The heavy rain could cause rivers and streams to go higher.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Helene neared the Azores, Tropical Storm Isaac weakened to a tropical wave over the Caribbean Sea and Tropical Storm Joyce was pulled northeast in the wake of Helene.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located at latitude 40.2°N and longitude 32.1°W which put it about 75 miles (120 km) northwest of Flores, Azores.  Helene was moving toward the northeast at 24 m.p.h. (39 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for all of the Azores.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Joyce was located at latitude 33.1°N and longitude 39.6°W which put it about 785 miles (1260 km) west-southwest of the Azores.  Joyce was moving toward the east-northeast at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

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