FLORENCE UPDATE 1430 HRS EDT 9/8/18
Florence is looking a little better this morning but still experiencing some sheer. When we say sheer over talking about are conflicting winds which are blowing in a different direction for how the hurricane is moving. In this case Florence is moving in a West direction and the winds are coming from the SW to the NE which is blowing the tops of the thunderstorms off and causing the system to struggle. It looks like the sheer is beginning to ease up a little bit and I think this trend will of diminishing sheer on will continue on Sunday and Monday.
All of the hurricane models continue to show that as Florence approaches the more favorable conditions in the atmosphere and moves over the warmest wars in the entire tropical Atlantic it will undergo rapid intensification.
Image #1 shows a comparison of the upper air maps-- 500 mb between the GFS early this morning and the European. This map shows you the position and shape of the enormous powerful ridge in the jet stream over the West Atlantic Ocean. Notice now how the GFS ...which a few days ago had a much weaker ridge ...now has the ridge pushing into New England New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is what the European model has been showing for several days.
In other words it shows the general superiority of the European model at this point. The implication of this huge ridge is that it forces Florence to take a WIDER turn as it approaches the se us coast and therefore slams into the coast SOUTH of the Virginia North Carolina border.
IMAGE #2 shows a comparison of the operational GFS models from early this morning and at midday. Notice how the GFS model showing a very intense category 4 hurricane approaches Cape Hatteras and Eastern North Carolina on Friday morning. But the model stalls the hurricane just to the Eastern southeast of Cape Hatteras.
Image #3 shows how the GFS is now drifting the hurricane south back into the Gulf stream by next weekend. This is a huge change from what previous run of the GFS model have been showing which have been taking the system either up into New England Coast or out into the open Atlantic Ocean.
This is critically important because it shows how the GFS model is finally seeing the impact of the enormous ridge in the jet stream over New England and the northern Middle Atlantic region
I do not know if in fact Florence is going to stall off of North Carolina Coast or stall inland like the European model was showing. But a stall of Florence is LIKELY to occur late this week into the weekend. If this stall occurs inland .... it will cause widespread devastating and probably historic flooding over portions of North Carolina Virginia western Maryland and West Virginia.
IMAGE #4 show the GFS ensembles
Image number 5 shows the European ensemble which is the preferred model by WXRISK. I have highlighted / expanded the ensemble spread and by doing so we can see that the the European ensemble has 4 distinct clusters or groupings of possible landfall for Florence.
GROUP #1 is a cluster of possible land falls along the Georgia North Florida Coast. I think a landfall in Savannah Georgia is happen one time in the last 130 years.
GROUP #2 is in the South Carolina coastal areas.
GROUP #3 is a cluster over eastern North Carolina and by implication Southeast Virginia a
GROUP #4 is a cluster that keeps Florence just offshore.
It is impossible this point to know for certain which GROUP/ CLUSTER is likely to be the correct one. I believe it's probably going to be either GROUP #2 or GROUP #3 but I am not certain of this at this time.
As Florence approaches the southeast US coast it will begin to bend it to the northwest especially as it undergoes intensification AND goes around the sw side of the ridge . The problem is that the southeast US coast is an oblique angle with respect to the track of the hurricane. This makes an exact forecast with regard to landfall very difficult .
** BREAKING NEWS ** 1 Z EUROPEAN MODEL has landfall se NC ..near Wilmington then moves Flornce to VA NC where it stalls and dies... and drops 12-18 of rain over all of central/ eastern VA !!!!!