The forecast of Florence and impact to the U.S. East Coast mid-to-late next week remains highly uncertain, but the danger to the coast is increasing.
The key to Florence's future forecasts relative to the East Coast appears to hinge on the strength and westward-extent of a dome of high-pressure aloft expected to develop and strengthen north of Florence over the western Atlantic Ocean early next week.
Scenario 1: If that high-pressure ridge is stronger and extends farther west, that would increase the chance of a hurricane landfall along the East Coast, particularly over some part of the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast mid- to late next week, with the remnant then driving inland.
Prognosis: Increasingly possible
Scenario 2: If that high-pressure ridge is weaker and doesn't extend as far west, that would diminish but not eliminate the chance of a landfall. However, that could still bring Florence uncomfortably close to the East Coast, resembling a slow-moving nor'easter. Several days of damaging surf, coastal flooding and beach erosion would occur in this scenario along at least a portion of the East Coast.
Scenario 3: Florence may remain sufficiently far enough offshore to avoid even significant coastal flood impacts.
Prognosis: Diminishing potential
Complicating this forecast is its potential unusual track, according to tracks of past named storms in the vicinity of Florence, as tropical scientists Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Brian McNoldy each pointed out Friday.
To reiterate, there is a large amount of uncertainty in this long-range forecast, with all three scenarios in play.
All interests along the U.S. East Coast from Florida to New England should monitor closely the forecast of Florence. If you live in a hurricane-prone location, now is a good time to make sure you have a preparedness plan in place.
The NHC forecasts the paths of tropical storms and hurricanes only through five days in the future because the further out in time, the greater the uncertainty in the forecast.
You may see various forecast model depictions for Florence's path on social media or elsewhere, but it's important to know these are not official forecasts.
Source: The Weather Company
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