Rare Category 4 Hurricane risk for the U.S. East Coast

September 10 is the peak day for hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic basin for the last 100 years, and this year things look particularly dicey for the U.S. Eastern seaboard. It’s becoming more and more likely that Hurricane Florence will hit the Carolinas later this week, with Isaac and Helene also churning westward.

Eric Berger, reporting for Ars Technica:

This storm has, unfortunately, blown up overnight as hurricane forecasters anticipated. It has become a Category 2 hurricane with 105mph winds, and should become a major hurricane later today.

There appears to be little to slow down further intensification of the storm over the next few days as it crosses warm waters (29° Celsius), and encounters little to no wind shear. It is effectively like skating on sharp blades across recently smoothed ice. In its latest forecast, the National Hurricane Center anticipates that Florence will reach 150mph winds—nearly Category 5 intensity—before making landfall late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

This appears to be bad news for millions of people, many of whom aren’t even in the storm’s path.

As potentially damaging as Florence’s wind and surge are for coastal areas of the Carolinas, however, its inland rainfall should prove equally destructive, if not worse. That is because, somewhat like Hurricane Harvey in 2017, steering currents seem likely to weaken once Florence moves inland and runs into high pressure over West Virginia and Kentucky.

Images like this should rattle quite a few folks. Stay safe, all.

Come on, Irene

Gizmodo is reporting that this weekend’s hurricane is worse than you think:

Instead of passing offshore like yesterday’s forecasts predicted, the storm looks like it will track northeast, barreling through New England with a likely direct hit in New York City and on Long Island. If the storm stays on its current trajectory, which is very likely, said Bryan Norcross, a hurricane specialist with The Weather Channel, New York City and Manhattan will suffer a direct hit.