It appears that Raleigh may have dodged the bullet, as Hurricane Flo seems to be taking a southerly course after kissing the southeastern coast of North Carolina below Wilmington on Friday. Here is tonight’s 8:00 PM track:
Raleigh may be spared as a result, receiving only gusty winds and perhaps 3-5 inches of rain, depending upon how far the outer storm bands rotate when it stalls on the NC coast. The relief is almost palpable here in central North Carolina, but the frenzied buying at grocery stores has only barely diminished.
Lines at the liquor store this afternoon, however, were back to normal, and I give the ABC staff full marks for restocking the shelves since I was there last night.
Though Raleigh may hardly feel the hurricane, the NC coast is likely to get pounded with wind-driven rain, 12-20′ storm surges, and severe beach erosion from the heavy surf before, during, and after the event. Inland areas close to the ocean may see up to 30 inches of rain, which will cause severe flooding.
It’s probably good not to relax too soon despite the new hurricane track forecast. After all, Raleigh to Wilmington is a mere 129 miles in a direct line on I-40, which isn’t very distant. And Florence remains powerful and dangerous. Earlier today an airplane measured 83-foot waves near the storm’s eye. While I am not expecting any such ferocious water beyond the coast, a fickle turn northward could once again put us in the bull’s eye of the wind and rain.