Friday, October 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Hurricane Guide

Will weakening Hurricane Florence affect the U.S.? Some models put Eastern Seaboard on alert

Hurricane Florence remains far out in the Atlantic, but Bermuda — and perhaps the Eastern Seaboard — remain on alert as various models show it could begin to impact those areas by next week.

The biggest question in the next few days: Will the storm take its previously projected turn to the north, or — as some of the latest models suggest — will it stay on more of a westerly path that could target areas along the mid-Atlantic, including North Carolina?

Wind shear has helped weaken Florence into a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds as off 11 a.m., and it was about 1,115 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

PREVIOUS STORY: Hurricane Florence strengthens into a Category 4 storm as two other tropical waves develop

The track still remains in flux, though, as it currently continues on a northwesterly path at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane center forecasters say it will slow down before turning toward the west by the weekend, and could produce swells and high surf in Bermuda by Friday and parts of the East Coast over the weekend.

Meteorologists and weather watchers are keeping a close eye on the path, and the changing models that have Florence shifting to the west.

HURRICANE GUIDE: Emergency information, tracking map and storm resources

While the immediate attention is on Florence, forecasters continue to monitor two other tropical waves that could develop into the next tropical systems — which could be named Helene and Isaac.

Conditions are favorable for the first, approaching the Cabo Verde Islands, to become Helene. It has a 70 percent chance of development by this weekend. The second has yet to move off Africa’s west coast, but still has a 50 percent chance of development in the next five days, forecasters said.

Gordon, meanwhile, has weakened into a tropical depression over Mississippi but will be a heavy rainmaker as it continues on a path to the north, eventually reaching the Great Lakes, forecasters said.

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EXTENDED FORECAST: The 10-day outlook for the Tampa Bay area

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