5 p.m. update:
Florence strengthens after going through a full eyewall replacement. Its wind field also continues to expand with hurricane-force winds to expanding outward from its center 60 miles and tropical storm-force winds expanding 175 miles from the center.
Scroll down for indirect impacts to Central Florida
Most models are showing a significant slow down of Florence once it reaches the North Carolina coast as either a very strong Category 3 or Category 4 Hurricane. Forecasts have been showing the storm stalling a couple of hundreds of miles inland and weakening. But if the major hurricane stalls at the coast, torrential rain and destructive winds will bring catastrophic damage to the coast.
The stalling is due to a blocking high pressure area, which will keep the storm locked over North Carolina's and mid-Atlantic states for several days.
Tuesday noon update:
The tropics continue to be alive and pumping. Three named storms over the Atlantic Ocean and a tropical disturbance over the western Caribbean are keeping our meteorologists busy.
Florence, Helene and Isaac do not pose a threat to Florida, at the most indirect effects to Central Florida's east coast are expected in the form of rough seas and high risk of rip currents.
Major Hurricane Florence
Florence continues as a very strong Category 4 hurricane, aiming at the Carolinas. Models show that the storm has not peaked in intensity. Florence could become a Category 5 hurricane by Tuesday or Wednesday.
On Monday, it started its shift to the north and by Wednesday it will shift to the northwest as it picks up speed. The latest advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center puts Florence near Jacksonville, North Carolina late Thursday or early Friday morning. Landfall has shifted a bit more east since the previous predictions. Trajectories and landfall will still vary in the coming days and even within a few hours of landfall as the hurricane will continue rebuild its center and wobble.
Its wind field will continue to expand as the storm approaches the Carolinas. This will cause the storm to bring major impacts well beyond its center and well-inland.
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Threats to Central Florida - What does Florence mean to Central Florida?
It is unlikely Central Florida will be directly affected by Florence, although Atlantic beaches may see large swells. The high risk for rip currents is already present along the East Coast and will likely to continue through the week.
Threats for the Carolinas & mid-Atlantic states
Storm surge: Life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coastline of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, and a storm surge watch will likely be issued for some of these areas by Tuesday morning.
Flooding: Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.
Wind: Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a hurricane watch will likely be issued by Tuesday morning. Damaging winds could also spread well inland into portions of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Large swells and dangerous surf: Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents.
Isaac marching to the Caribbean
Isaac, located just over 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, fluctuated in intensity Monday, but most models show that Isaac could still cross the central part of the Lesser Antilles as a Category 1 hurricane. After (most likely) crossing the eastern Caribbean, somewhere between Dominica and Guadeloupe it will continue to travel west and stay south of Puerto Rico. Rough seas and some rain bands could affect Puerto Rico starting Thursday. This storm, once over the Caribbean, will be fighting strong wind shear which could further weaken the system. Isaac should still be monitored closely as any system that enters the area could pose a threat to Florida.
Helene in the Eastern Atlantic
Hurricane Helene will continue over the open Atlantic. On Tuesday the system will be turning northward and will stay as a hurricane, likely becoming a tropical storm and weakening as it enters cooler waters. Helene does not represent a threat to land.
Read: CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
Invest 95-L in the western Caribbean
A disturbance over the western Caribbean has a 60 percent chance of development within five days. Wind shear is preventing the system from becoming organized in the short term, but as this system travels to the northwest and enters the Gulf of Mexico, conditions will become more favorable for the disturbance to become better organized. A tropical depression or storm could develop by Thursday or Friday. Residents along the eastern coast of Mexican and Texas should monitor this system closely.
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