Florence has re-intensified into a hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify into a very dangerous Category 4 hurricane by Tuesday as it heads towards the Southeast U.S. Coast. Florence is likely to make landfall on Thursday evening or Friday morning on the Southeast U.S. East Coast or remain just offshore. The odds have increased that Florence will stall on Friday and meander near or over the coast for several days, making the hurricane a huge rainfall and coastal flooding threat. Florence was about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda late Sunday morning, moving west at 6 mph. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were a warm 28.5°C (83°F), but Florence was embedded in an atmosphere with somewhat dry air (a mid-level relative humidity of 50%).
The high wind shear of 20 – 25 knots that had been driving this dry air into the core of the storm had abated significantly on Sunday morning, and was a light 5 – 10 knots. Satellite images on Sunday afternoon showed that the storm was significantly more organized, with a prominent eye, a more symmetrical shape, and impressive spiral banding. Florence was a medium-sized hurricane, with tropical storm-force winds that extended out up to 115 miles from the center. An NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft flying out of Bermuda on Sunday morning found 75 mph surface winds. No other hurricane hunter missions are scheduled for today; regular hurricane hunter missions by the Air Force will begin on Monday. The NOAA jet will fly another dropsonde mission on Sunday night. READ MORE