By Mary Frost
Queens Daily Eagle
We may have lucked out: It’s unlikely that Hurricane Florence will have any major effect on New York City’s weather, according to Accuweather senior meteorologist Tom Kines.
But as always when it comes to the weather, “You gotta keep one eye open,” he told the Queens Daily Eagle.
Hurricane Florence, churning towards the Eastern U.S. coast in the Atlantic Ocean, became a Category 4 storm around noon on Monday, and it’s expected to become even more powerful as it moves over warmer waters the next couple of days.
Though the New York City region stands to miss the worst of the storm, Queens isn’t out of the woods. The National Weather Service of New York issued a flood warning for Southern Queens effective Monday and Tuesday.
“Minor Coastal Flooding during the times of high tide,” the alert said. “Vulnerable locales along Queens and Nassau Counties.”
The NWS specifically indicated that the waters around Jamaica Bay, Rockaway Inlet and East Rockaway will have higher than usual water levels, resulting in coastal flooding.
“Shallow flooding is expected in the most vulnerable locations near the waterfront and shoreline during the times of high tide this morning,” the NWS said. “Expect [one foot to one and a half] feet of inundation above ground level in low lying, vulnerable areas. Some roads and low lying property including parking lots, parks, lawns and homes/businesses with basements near the waterfront will experience shallow flooding.”
The hurricane could hit anywhere from the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic by late Thursday or early Friday.
The National Hurricane Center reports that “there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane.” States of emergency have already been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where a “life threatening” storm surge is likely. Dangerous freshwater flooding is also expected, and will be made worse by a wet summer.
It’s looking more and more probable that New York City will dodging a direct hit, however.
“Florence will have little effect on our weather except for some rough surf which might cause beach erosion,” Kines said. And though Florence will likely be dumping prodigious amounts of rain on the Carolinas, Virginia and nearby areas, “the odds are that all that moisture will stay south of us,” at least through most of the weekend, he said.
The storm may stall in the Carolinas, “causing havoc,” Kines said. “That’s the place you don’t want to be.”
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management is “closely monitoring Hurricane Florence and the possible effects the storm may have on the city as it continues its track,” OEM spokesman Omar Bourne told the Eagle late Monday afternoon. While the hurricane “currently poses no immediate threat” to the city, “We remain in constant communication with the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service to track and monitor Hurricane Florence and share storm updates with city, state, and private sector partners, and have convened conference calls with our agency partners to discuss potential preparations should the storm track toward the city,” he said.
Two of the four “spaghetti” tracks of the European model ensemble members show Florence’s remnant circling back into the Atlantic Ocean after its travels through the Eastern coastal states, just to the south of Long Island, according to Weather Underground.