Frank Strait

Florence thoughts

By Frank Strait, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
9/07/2018, 7:47:48 PM

Very wise words from a seasoned veteran meteorologist for the locals in North Carolina, and surrounding states, too. Follow the link to Twitter to read Nate Johnson's tweet storm, then come back to read what I wrote. By the way, this started as a tweet storm and ended up being too long or that. So, we ended up with the blog post here!

By the way, think long and hard before you decide to do anything resembling work while on vacation, especially from some place out in the sticks with a badly overloaded cellular network. The good news is ... here was my view while writing:

My office today

Anyway, suppose you're like me, visiting a beach in the Carolinas this weekend or beyond. How do you handle the situation with Florence posing a threat? After all, aside from hurricane risks, this is the best time to go to the Carolina beaches (this is a secret between y'all and me, don't tell nobody).

I'm not changing my plans just yet. I'm at my parents' house now, and I'll be heading down to Charleston Sunday. I plan on leaving Charleston Wednesday, before Florence became a concern. The weather should be good through Tuesday at least, probably through Wednesday.


I'm definitely not tuning out while I'm down here, and you shouldn't either. You or another grown-up in your group should pay attention to and our social media accounts, along with the local news outlets when you're down there.

The ocean is going to get rough this weekend and especially early next week. The rip current risk is already up to moderate, at least for the Carolina beaches. So, have some ideas of things that don't involve going in the water. That's going to become dangerous for swimming and boating.

The good news is that there's plenty to do at or near most of the beaches other than go to the beach! Check out those pamphlets at your favorite restaurant when you're down there. There's also this thing called the internet for looking stuff up, which you happen to be already using now!

Also, there's a new moon coming up on Sunday. So, astronomical tides are running high. That alone causes flooded areas along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts (sometimes farther north and south, too). Swells coming in from Florence will exacerbate that. So be prepared to have to find an alternate route while driving. Also, don't expect there to be much beach, in some places no beach, available during the evening high tides.

While there's a good bit of uncertainty still about exactly where or even if Florence will cause problems other than rough surf and dangerous marine conditions along the East Coast, there appears to be a good chance that some areas will be evacuated next week. If you're planning to be at the beach past Tuesday, you need to keep close watch on Florence. You might have to leave early, arrive late or figure out something entirely different to do if your destination is going to be affected. Maybe the mountains turn out to be a better place to be than the coast this time. And staycations are underrated in my opinion!

Some of this applies if you're planning a trip to inland places, too. If Florence ends up tracking well inland, then there can be flooding rain, high wind and maybe even isolated tornadoes. A campground near potentially fast-rising water, even 100 miles inland, would not be a great place to be if there are major effects that far inland.

If it starts to look like your destination will have serious effects and evacuations, don't hesitate to leave early. It is not one bit of fun to be caught in evacuation traffic. This reminds me, fill your fuel tank on the way down and don't let it get too low when you're there. Running out of fuel, especially in evacuation traffic, is bad for everyone!

Anyway, speaking of vacations, I'm going to get back to mine. I just wanted to add in some thoughts and keep the dialog going. If you have some ideas that you think I should have included, there's a comments section below. See y'all again in a week or so!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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