It's not time to panic: Big Weather says it's too soon to tell if Hurricane Florence will hit North Carolina

Don Schwenneker Image
Friday, September 7, 2018
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Keeping an eye on Florence and the weather

The internet. It can bring wondrous things right to the palm of your hand.

It can also bring headaches to meteorologists up and down the eastern seaboard.

Over the last day or two, I've already started seeing posts about "A Hurricane is headed toward NC."

Well, let's talk about those posts. First of all, they are wrong.

When we look out into the future, for weather, we use computer modeling; there are several models we reference.

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And even some of those models have several solutions built in to them, so we look at all of those solutions all put together, and we call those ensembles.

Watch: Radar loop of Hurricane Florence

So, a couple of days ago, one of the models showed Hurricane Florence with a direct hit on North Carolina.

And some people, wanting to be first instead of being right, began posting this model on social media.

Here's what they neglect to tell you, though. Even IF (and that's a big if) that one model is correct one, it still could be off by over 1,000 miles!

There are errors in every model. And the further you go out in time, those models grow.

That means the storm could hit anywhere from New York City to Cocoa Beach Florida. And that's just one model, let's look at lots of the models in the Spaghetti Plot.

Some take it west to the Bahamas and some take it up into the North Atlantic.

There is SO much uncertainty. And these are the same models that failed to pick up on the strengthening that has already happened.

If a model can't see the correct intensity of the storm, a couple of days out, what makes you think they are accurate as to the path of the storm over a week out?

Bottom Line: Way to early to say where this storm will end up.

Here's what I do know. You should be prepared for a storm now. We are in the height of the hurricane season and you should be prepared for anything headed in.

Also, the beach is going to be a problem next week, starting mid-week.

Any storm out in the ocean is going to churn up swells, and rip currents could be a problem. Plus, many municipalities stop employing lifeguards after Labor Day so beaches may be unguarded while those rip currents are hitting.

If you do head to the beach next week, please stay safe and keep an eye on the hurricane forecast from someone you trust, not from some random internet post.