James Spann: Alabama trending hotter, drier as Florence approaches East Coast

James Spann has the Alabama forecast and the latest on Hurricane Florence from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SHOWERS BECOMING FEWER IN NUMBER: As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast, Alabama’s weather will be trending hotter and drier for the next five to seven days. We rise into the mid to upper 80s today and tomorrow, followed by low 90s Thursday, Friday and over the weekend. We will be on a band of sinking air (subsidence) on the far outer periphery of Florence, meaning that afternoon showers will be few and far between. The chance of any one spot getting wet each afternoon will be only in the 10 to 20 percent range.

And it looks like much of next week will be dry across the state as well, as the huge rain shield associated with Florence remains north and east of our state. Highs next week will be mostly in the upper 80s. There’s no sign of any big rain event, and no sign of any really cool air for the next seven to 10 days. As we have often said here, our first good “cool shot” of the fall usually arrives in late September.

FLORENCE: Florence is, and will most likely remain, an extremely dangerous, major hurricane through landfall. Top winds this morning are still 140 mph, and the National Hurricane Center track has changed little. Landfall should come Thursday night on the North Carolina coast.

A Hurricane Watch and a Storm Surge Watch are in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Key messages:

  • A life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, and a Storm Surge Watch has been issued for a portion of this area. All interests from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials.

  • Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic for hundreds of miles. Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.

  • Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for a part of this area. Damaging winds could also spread well inland into portions of the Carolinas and Virginia.
  • Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents.
  • Given the amount of uncertainty three days out, it is important not to focus on the exact forecast track. Average NHC errors at day 3 are about 100 nautical miles, and dangerous hazards will extend well away from the center.

ISAAC: Tropical Storm Isaac in the Atlantic is forecast to cross the Lesser Antilles Thursday, then move into the Caribbean Friday. There is a chance Isaac turns north toward the Atlantic, into the weakness provided by Florence, over the weekend, but it remains too early to know if it will impact the Gulf of Mexico or the U.S.

HELENE: The hurricane in the far eastern Atlantic will turn north, and is no threat to land.

INVEST 95L: A tropical wave around the Yucatan Channel will move through the Gulf of Mexico, and will bring the threat of heavy rain to the Texas Gulf Coast by Friday and the weekend. The NHC gives it a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm, but one way or another heavy rain will be the biggest issue with this feature. It should remain west of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

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