Though the eventual path of Hurricane Florence is
still unknown, beach-goers should expect to see a higher risk of rip
currents beginning over the weekend.
“One thing we’re confident in, in terms of
impacts, is an increased threat of dangerous rip currents and rough
surf,” said Lead Forecaster for the National Weather Service Newport /
Morehead City office, Robert Frederick. “Even if Florence stays far
offshore, it will produce swells, and we will start seeing those over
the weekend, and peaking next week. It is hard to say yet if [the
swells] will be big enough for beach erosion or rough surf.”
“Beyond that, it’s too early to tell if there
will be direct impacts [to the Outer Banks] of storm surge, high winds
and heavy rains,” he added.
Current computer models of Florence’s long-term
path vary widely, with some keeping it up to 300 miles offshore, and
others bringing it close to southeastern North Carolina.
However, the track will likely tighten in the days to follow, with a clearer picture of Florence’s path expected this weekend.
“Every day we get closer to [a more defined]
path, as computer models come into better agreement,” said Frederick.
“Later this weekend, we’ll be within five days of a potential direct
impact, so we’ll have more confidence on whether it will directly
impact the Outer Banks.”
Florence has also been a hard storm to track in
terms of intensity, as the storm was a major hurricane earlier in the
week before it weakened significantly. It’s probable that the storm
will regain strength once it connects with warmer water, but there is a
lot of uncertainty at this point.
As of 11 a.m. on Thursday, the center of
Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 24.6 North, longitude 48.6
West. Florence is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17
km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest and west with a decrease
in forward speed is expected through Saturday. Florence may begin
to move faster toward the west-northwest over the western Atlantic
early next week.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near
105 mph (165 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional weakening is
forecast during the next day or two, however, Florence is expected to
remain a hurricane and may re-intensify over the weekend.
In the meantime, beach-goers should watch for rip
currents and elevated risks, which are posted daily. Visitors and
residents can also sign up for text alerts to easily check on ocean
conditions by texting "Join OBXBeachConditions" to 30890.
For additional info, visit www.weather.gov/mhx
for weather forecast information, or the National Weather Service
office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.