First Warning Forecast: Tracking Florence

Posted at 2:32 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 14:32:12-04

Meteorologist Madeline Evans’ First Warning Forecast

*** A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the coast from South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

*** A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast from South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

*** Coastal Flood Advisory until 2 PM Tuesday for Virginia Beach, Accomack, Northampton; until 4 PM for Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton, Poquoson, Newport News, York, Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex. “Minor” level flooding is expected near times of high tide.

We have another day or so of decent weather to get ready for the approach of Hurricane Florence. Started of dry and mostly sunny this morning but now showers and storms are firing up this afternoon for parts of the Southside, and northeastern North Carolina. We are seeing heavy downpours and a good bit of lightning mixing in. We are not expecting at this time for anything to go severe.

We will see partly cloudy skies Wednesday with another chance for scattered showers and storms. Highs will reach the mid to upper 80s tomorrow.

Hurricane Florence will approach the Carolina coastline on Thursday. Based on the current forecast track, we will see widespread rain and very strong winds late Thursday and Friday. Significant flooding is expected with several inches of rainfall combined with coastal flooding and storm surge.

Based on the current forecast track, here is what to expect…


Most of the area will see 5” to 10” of rain over several days (Thursday-Sunday)

Many inland locations will see 10” to 15” of rain

Locally higher totals are possible


Winds will ramp up on Thursday, stay strong through Friday, then slowly relax through the weekend.

Peak winds (sustained at tropical storm force, gusts to near hurricane force)

Hatteras: 45-55 G70+

Elizabeth City: 35-45 G60+

Virginia Beach: 35-45 G60+

Franklin: 25-35 G50+

Williamsburg: 25-35 G45+

Melfa: 25-35 G45+

Storm Surge

Peak storm surge: 3’ to 5’


Storm track is favorable for isolated tornadoes in NE NC and SE VA


Swells from Florence will impact a large section of the East Coast and are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions

Florence will weaken once over land but will linger over the Virginia and the Carolinas this weekend. Winds will slowly relax over the weekend but widespread rain will keep the flooding threat high.

Today: Mix of Clouds, Scattered Showers/Storms (40%). Highs in the upper 80s. Winds: S/SE 5-10

Tonight: Partly Cloudy, Scattered Showers/Storms (30%). Lows in the mid 70s. Winds: SE 5-10

Tomorrow: Partly Cloudy, Scattered Showers/Storms (30%). Highs in the upper 80s. Winds: E 5-15

Weather & Health 

Pollen: Moderate (Ragweed)

UV Index: 8 (Very High)

Air Quality: Good (Code Green)

Mosquitoes: Extreme

Today in Weather History (NWS Wakefield)

September 11th

1883 Heavy Rain: 2.66″ Norfolk

Tropical Update

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h). A west-northwestward to northwestward motion with a slight increase in forward speed are expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane watch area Thursday and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Florence is expected to begin re strengthening later today and continue a slow strengthening trend for the next day or so. While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall.

Hurricane-force winds have expanded outward and now extend up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds have also expanded and now extend outward up to 170 miles (280 km) from the center.

Hurricane Tracker

Hurricane Helene turning NW over the eastern Atlantic. Helene is centered about 670 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and moving NW at 12 mph. This motion is expected to continue today with a turn toward the NNW and north.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 110 mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening should begin tonight, and Helene is forecast to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

11:00 AM AST Tue Sep 11

Location: 16.5°N 34.3°W

Moving: NW at 12 mph

Min pressure: 966 mb

Max sustained: 110 mph

Tropical Storm Isaac is centered about 775 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west at 16 mph. On the forecast track Isaac is anticipated to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles on Thursday and move into the eastern Caribbean Sea Thursday night.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph with higher gusts. Isaac is expected to be near hurricane strength when it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, with some weakening forecast afterward on Friday.

11:00 AM AST Tue Sep 11

Location: 14.6°N 49.7°W

Moving: W at 16 mph

Min pressure: 996 mb

Max sustained: 70 mph

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