Good Afternoon Folks! Florence is crawling toward the NC coast as of 3pm Thursday and landfall is expected shortly after sunrise Friday morning in the Wilmington area. The impacts to our easterly neighbors will be substantial, however this discussion will focus on SW NC as we have a slightly better handle on the track of the system once it makes landfall.
Florence will meander along the coastline after making landfall and eventually turn northwest toward our region during the day Saturday, pushing rain into the area sometime Sunday morning, with showers lingering through Monday and finally ending Tuesday as the system lifts north.
Of course this is not set in stone but the models are agreeing with each other much more than what we saw on Tuesday. The track of the system is important for our region as we deal with upslope enhancement due to the escarpment (area in which the foothills rise to the mountains). The system currently is modeled to ride overhead, as opposed to our south and west, which would put the ever important (and dangerous) north - northeast quadrant in play. We still expect widespread shower coverage and heavy downpours as tropical bands swing overhead, with rainfall totals maxing out somewhere around 10" for locations along the escarpment (Lake Toxaway, Cashiers, and Highlands), while the majority of SW NC picks up anywhere from 3 - 5" from Sunday morning into Tuesday morning. This amount of rain for the southernmost points of SW NC will of course lead to localized flooding and when coupled with gust up to 20 - 40mph, downed trees are a good bet with pockets of power outages across the area. All in all the setup is not as dire as it could be, but we encourage folks to check back in Saturday as the impacts will be less than 24 hours out from arriving.
The rest of the afternoon today will feature a few passing clouds, temps in the low - mid 80's with overnight lows dipping back into the mid 60's for the valleys. Friday and Saturday both feature more sun than clouds, although high clouds are likely late Saturday as the leading edge of Florence pushes into the mountains. Temps tomorrow will push into the mid 80's but humidity levels will be slightly lower than the past week, with temps a few degrees cooler Saturday; low 80's for Cullowhee.
Rain develops Sunday, lingers into Monday and its during this period that we expect the most rain to fall with the system lifting to the north Tuesday as an upper level trough picks it up. Temps cool down to the mid - upper 70's Sunday and Monday but rise back to the low 80's Tuesday, with high passing clouds overhead late in the day.