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Hurricane Warnings Issued for Carolinas for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Warnings were issued for the Carolinas on Tuesday for the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 28.4°N and longitude 68.7°W which put it about 670 miles (1075 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 946 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Edisto Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina and from Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

Hurricane Florence completed an eyewall replacement cycle and it continues to be a powerful hurricane.  There was a circular eye with a diameter of 30 miles (48 km) at the center of Florence.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  The eyewall replacement cycle resulted in a larger circulation.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation of Hurricane Florence.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 28.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 18.9 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 47.1.  Hurricane Florence is capable of causing extensive significant damage.

Hurricane Florence will move through an environment favorable for strong hurricanes during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  it will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence is likely to maintain its intensity and it could strengthen.  If another eyewall replacement cycle occurs, then there could be fluctuations in intensity.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence toward the west-northwest during the next 24 to 36 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Florence could approach the coast of the Carolinas later on Thursday.  The steering winds are forecast to weaken when Florence nears the coast and there is great uncertainty about the track when that occurs.  Hurricane Florence will bring strong winds to coastal North Carolina and eastern South Carolina.  Wind pushing water toward the shore will cause a significant storm surge.  A slow forward speed will mean that Hurricane Florence will drop a lot of rain and there is a risk of significant flooding of rivers and streams.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Isaac was speeding toward the Lesser Antilles and Hurricane Helene was weakening far south of the Azores.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 52.3°W which put it about 580 miles (935 km) east of Martinique.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 999 mb.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saba and St. Eustatius.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 18.0°N and longitude 35.4°W which put it about 1479 miles (2370 km) south-southwest of the Azores.  Helene was moving toward the northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.

Hurricane Florence Causes Watches for Carolinas, Isaac for the Lesser Antilles

The potential impacts of Hurricane Florence caused Hurricane Watches to be issued for the Carolinas on Tuesday morning while the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac also caused Watches to be issued for some of the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 26.7°N and longitude 65.3°W which put it about 905 miles (1455 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 950 mb.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

Hurricane Florence was nearing the end of an eyewall replacement cycle on Tuesday morning.  A thin ring of showers and thunderstorms around the center of circulation was all that was left of the original eyewall.  A larger ring of thunderstorms surrounded an eye with a diameter of 36 miles (58 km).  Several other bands of showers and thunderstorms surround the new, larger eyewall.  Storms near the core of Hurricane Florence generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane.

The eyewall replacement cycle temporarily weakened Hurricane Florence, but it also made the circulation larger.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 15.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.4.

Hurricane Florence will be moving through an environment favorable for strong hurricanes.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence is likely to strengthen during the next 24 hours, but additional eyewall replacement cycles could cause the intensity to fluctuate.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of the subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a general west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Florence could approach the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday.  It will very likely be a major hurricane at that time.

Tropical Storm Isaac moved steadily toward the Lesser Antilles and Watches were issued for some of those islands.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.6°N and longitude 49.7°W which put it about 775 miles (1250 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 996 mb.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Antigua and Montserrat.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Helene moved far south of the Azores.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 16.5°N and longitude 34.3°W which put it about 1550 miles (2495 km) south-southwest of the Azores.  Helene was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 966 mb.