What was once an extremely powerful category 4 hurricane, Florence weakened on Thursday to a category 1 storm as it encountered wind shear. While that may seem like good news, the long term outlook is something that should be monitored.
As of Thursday evening, Florence is out in the open Atlantic, roughly 1,000 miles away from Bermuda and the Northern Leeward Island.
The storm could continue to weaken further within the next 12 hours and be downgraded to a tropical storm, but beyond that, the cyclone will enter an area favorable for re-intensification. Over the course of the weekend, Florence will head into warmer waters, allowing the storm to strengthen back into a hurricane and possibly back to a major category 3 hurricane by Monday with winds of 150 mph.
Bermuda is within the cone of uncertainty, but on the edge. Being that it still five days away, it is far from certain if the storm will be a direct hit or if any wind or rain affects the island.
There is also a lot of uncertainty beyond as the storm passes Bermuda. The primary steering mechanism will be an area of high pressure to the north. By Tuesday of next week, the question is whether that high will give way to allow Florence to curve away from the East Coast or suppress it totally, allowing it to head directly toward the Carolinas.
Those are essentially two extreme possible scenarios, meaning everyone across the East Coast including New York City should monitor this storm. As we progress through the weekend, forecasters will be able to narrow down where Florence will go and how strong the cyclone will be if it actually becomes a threat.
What is known is that swells associated with Florence will increase on Friday for Bermuda. Through the course of the weekend, the waves will start to churn up for the East Eoast. The National Hurricane Center says that these swells will eventually lead to life-threatening surf and rip currents.