Florence is forecast to restrengthen into a hurricane and push close to Bermuda and the United States East Coast next week. Florence is expected to have an indirect impact and may evolve into a serious direct threat.
Florence is a relatively small tropical system, and small tropical systems are very vulnerable to both ideal and poor environmental conditions.
After forming near the Cabo Verde Islands last weekend, Florence became the first Category 4 hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season as it entered a zone of low wind shear and sufficiently warm waters earlier this week.
Wind shear is the increase in wind speed and change in wind direction with either increasing altitude or over a horizontal distance. High wind shear can prevent a tropical storm from forming and cause a well-developed hurricane to weaken.
A zone of strong wind shear has caused Florence to weaken to a tropical storm. Additional fluctuations in strength are anticipated.
This weekend, wind shear is forecast to diminish, while at the same time Florence moves over much warmer water. As a result, AccuWeather meteorologists expect Florence to gain strength.
The movement of Florence is likely to remain steady in the short term, but a deviation in the path may develop next week.
“An area of high pressure over the central Atlantic will bridge westward and join with an existing high pressure near the U.S. East coast over the next several days,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
“This setup will guide Florence on a west to northwesterly course into next week,” Kottlowski said.
If the high pressure area weakens next week, then Florence may be able to curve northward then northeastward out to sea with impacts in the U.S. limited to an indirect nature with rough surf and heavy seas.
However, if the high pressure area remains strong, then Florence may complete a 3,500-mile-long journey over the Atlantic and be guided right into the U.S. East Coast somewhere from the Carolinas to southern New England sometime during Wednesday or Thursday of next week.