09/13/2018 - Hurricane Florence

Down to a Cat-2. Looks like the main show, or what is left of it, will hit tomorrow night. I am so glad I still have the 2k+ I would have spent on this chase. Sometimes you guess right. Of course there is a still an outside chance it could regenerate, but the NHC calls for substantial 24 kt shear for the next 6-12 hours.
 
Jul 5, 2009
870
572
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Yeah, not that I was ever going to chase this anyway, but I no longer feel like I am missing anything. I think the surge will still be very severe, given the size of the storm and the time it has had to pile up water, especially given the shape of the coastline in spots down there; kind of like Sandy, which was barely Cat 1 and transitioning to extratropical but still had major surge. To me the surge is the most interesting and awe inspiring part of a hurricane, but it’s got to also be the hardest to safely see, and it sounds like there just aren’t any of the necessary structures on the coast needed for safe viewing. Next most interesting is the wind, but it seems like that is going to be fizzling out. Imagine going down there, staking out an inland location to stay safe from surge, and not even having the wind to experience anymore after all your trouble??? The other continuing threat is heavy rainfall, but to me that’s not particularly exciting or interesting and would only make it impossible to get back home.
 
The main surge appears to hit tomorrow night. Once the surface winds die down, it should be more of an eventual rise in flooding instead of the classic crashing surge. Glad for the residents as this may save many structures. Flooding will be the most deadly hazard now. Thanks for the link.
 
This is a good sign (the stalling). It may be even be moving slightly SW. The wind shift will help keep any surge waves parallel to or off shore for many locations as the storm winds down. The eye is rapidly filling with clear air and the bands are reducing in intensity. Hopefully, inland flooding will be reduced by the weakening. I'm assuming it will be downgraded to a Cat-1 soon.

I feel rather sorry for TWC. They have done a great job so far, likely the best (and most informative) coverage of a major hurricane yet, but I fear they are now caught up in the inertia of the event like they sometimes do and they are transfixed on one poor reporter struggling in Morehead City as he's battered with silly tropical storm winds and some light rain. I would head to lunch and a beer or two if I was him.

On the larger scale, this could have been a very destructive event had the storm remained a major hurricane and struck the coast head on. I feel very lucky to have dodged a journalistic and historical bullet, antagonized by the minute until Florence's demise became apparent yesterday. I have not looked at enough upper air charts to know if regeneration would be possible if it moves back out into open waters. I sure the hell don't want to miss a Florida landfall..... :eek:
 
Jul 5, 2009
870
572
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
....I feel rather sorry for TWC. They have done a great job so far, likely the best (and most informative) coverage of a major hurricane yet, but I fear they are now caught up in the inertia of the event like they sometimes do and they are transfixed on one poor reporter struggling in Morehead City as he's battered with silly tropical storm winds and some light rain. I would head to lunch and a beer or two if I was him...:
I’m sure Mike Seidel wishes he had just gone to lunch and had a couple beers...

https://twitter.com/gourdnibler/status/1040678572262916096?s=21
 
Jun 1, 2008
469
364
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
The Weather Channel incident does not help build trust in the media or meteorology community. It is most unfortunate, because storm surge and fresh water flooding did real damage, killed real people, and did happen as forecast.

Appreciate all the coverage from chasers here and elsewhere, but I have no desire to chase myself. Am I am Plains tornado snob? No, but I enjoy watching from my living room with the AC blasting, lights on, and water running.
 

cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
1,394
149
11
49
Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
Good day all,

Sorry for the late reply. This is my chase log for hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Details are below...

Summary: This area shows pictures taken from the interception and observation of category-one (borderline 2) hurricane Florence in North Carolina including its landfall on September 13 and 14 mainly near Wilmington and Topsail Beach. Hurricane Florence began its journey as a wave that came off Africa in late August of 2018, taking more than two weeks to reach the United States in mid September. The storm peaked in intensity around September 10 and 11 with explosive intensification, becoming a strong category 4 storm with winds near 150 MPH. As the storm approached north Carolina on September 13, the storm weakened to category 2 with 100 MPH winds, and strong category 1 with 90 MPH as it made landfall on September 14, 2018 near Wrightsville Beach, NC. The chase included a drive from Deerfield Beach, Florida to the primary target area of Wilmington, North Carolina via I-95 north on September 11 and 12, with a stop in Jacksonville, Florida. The chasing was done near Highways 17 and 74 in the Wilmington and North Topsail Beach areas on September 13 and 14. Late on the 14th, I left Wilmington to avoid being trapped by catastrophic flooding by heading back west on Highway 74 to I-95 south, spending that night in Hardeeville, South Carolina. On September 15, I drove back to South Florida, wrapping up the chase with a total mileage on the vehicle (2016 Jeep Wrangler) of 1699 miles. Chaser Derek Sibley also accompanied me on this chase.

florsurf.jpg

Very large and destructive waves impact North Topsail Beach (and North Carolina coastal areas) late in the day on September 13, 2018 as hurricane Florence lingers offshore. The hurricane generated large east and southeast swell waves during its long trip across the Atlantic Ocean and is about 100 miles offshore. The winds are from the north, and actually blowing side-offshore, against the breaking surf, causing spin-drift (back-spray) and a "gnarly" appearance to the 10 to 15 foot breakers. Tides are still above normal with storm surge and wave run-up causing damage to homes and severe beach erosion. Later the storm eye will move in just south of this area, and winds will be onshore and push even more water inland. Shortly after this picture was taken, the entire island was evacuated and all media / storm chasers were told by police to move inland or risk being arrested.

florrad1.jpg

These are two images showing hurricane Florence. To the left is an absolutely incredible image taken by NASA aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as it passed over the storm on September 11. To the right is the base reflectivity of the inner eyewall as it was just about to make landfall near Wrightsville Beach / Wilmington early on September 14.

Full video of Hurricane Florence is below...


Pictures are below...

flor10.jpg

Above: View of North Topsail Beach pier before leaving (police orders) late on September 13 as hurricane Florence draws closer.

flor11.jpg

Above: A BP gas station canopy is topped by strong winds of the outer eyewall of Florence just before midnight on September 13 in North Topsail Beach.

flor14.jpg

Above: Strong winds gusting over 80 MPH and horizontal (sideways) rain at the Wilmington Red Roof Inn during the pre-dawn hours of September 14. This marked the arrival of the inner eyewall.

flor20.jpg

Above: View looking up towards the sky while inside the calm eye of hurricane Florence at about 7:45 AM EDT on September 14 while just SE of Wilmington. The eye was clouded over, with a thin fog / stratus layer, but bright with a warm and muggy environment with skies bright overhead. In this shot you can see ocean birds "caught up" within the eye (there were hundreds of birds noted overhead at one point)!

flor23.jpg

Above: Parts of Highway 74 out of Wilmington blocked by downed trees during the mid morning of September 14.
 
Oct 10, 2004
1,090
138
11
33
Madison, WI
Nice account and pics, Chris. I think Florence packed a wind punch that took some by surprise, being "only" a Cat. 1 after initially being expected to make landfall as a Hugo-like 4. I think the weakening trend had paused at the time of landfall and the hurricane was holding steady, if not slightly re-intensifying as the shear that had been plaguing it abated somewhat and it moved over the Gulf Stream. Unlike some such storms that have come down from their peak upon CONUS landfall, it was not a dried-out "halfacane" that struggled to mix down its winds. Instead, vigorous convection was firing steadily in the core but having difficulty consolidating into a closed off eyewall (not unlike Michael in its first few days). Of course, Michael would soon remind us all what a high-end major is capable of.
 
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cdcollura

EF5
Jun 12, 2004
1,394
149
11
49
Sunrise, Florida
www.sky-chaser.com
Good day all,

Andy, I also noticed concentric (but fragmented) eyewalls before the storm came ashore. The outer eyewall seemed to dissapate due to it being over land first, allowing the inner one to re-generate as the outer one was no longer "choking" the iflow layer to it anymore. Very interesting.

Nice account and pics, Chris. I think Florence packed a wind punch that took some by surprise, being "only" a Cat. 1 after initially being expected to make landfall as a Hugo-like 4. I think the weakening trend had paused at the time of landfall and the hurricane was holding steady, if not slightly re-intensifying as the shear that had been plaguing it abated somewhat and it moved over the Gulf Stream. Unlike some such storms that have come down from their peak upon CONUS landfall, it was not a dried-out "halfacane" that struggled to mix down its winds. Instead, vigorous convection was firing steadily in the core but having difficulty consolidating into a closed off eyewall (not unlike Michael in its first few days). Of course, Michael would soon remind us all what a high-end major is capable of.