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Minimal Florence impact expected in Huntington

by Andrew Christman and Andrew Maciejewski - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com/ amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

With Hurricane Florence predicted to hit the East Coast later this week, the National Weather Service expects the greater Huntington area will avoid any major impacts.

NWS Meteorologist Kyle Brown said the region can expect warmer and dryer weather due to a high pressure area coming in sometime today.

“With this high pressure system, we have dry air that’s coming in and sinking down to the surface,” Brown said. “It will have a pretty strong hold on our region, and that will be our main weather driver as we enter the week.”

NWS is forecasting the high pressure zone will keep most of the rain from Florence east of the Appalachian Mountains, and Brown said he thinks immediate impacts could be seen as far north as northern Virginia and as far west as the central Appalachians.

As of Monday, the National Hurricane Center is classifying Florence as a Category Four hurricane, which will reach wind speeds of up to 130 mph. Brown said the hurricane will also be “dumping buckets and buckets of rain.”

“Basically what is happening is a ridge is devloping in our area, so we’re actually going to get some warmer temps this coming week. As a side effect of that, that ridge is actually going to keep Florence closer to the coast when it does make landfall. It’s kind of going to get steered out based on the next front that comes through over the weekend.”

Locally, temperatures are expected to hit the 80s by Thursday with low chances of rain, indicating a shift from the cool and damp weekend.

“We’re kind of going to be shifting from fall ... back to a little bit of summer,” Brown said, adding there might be a chance of rain early next week.

The shift in weather comes after a wet weekend during which 1.16 inches fell in the area. Brown says that while that may not sound like much, Wabash received about 0.1 inches more rain than Fort Wayne, which tracks regional data. The month of September is currently around 0.1 inch above average in terms of rainfall, though it is considered on track for an average year. With the incoming high temperatures though, Brown said it is difficult to predict what the rest of the month will look like.

Southern Indiana was hit with heavier rain, and states to the south of Indiana received significant rain totals. 

“It was just a very cool, unlike-summer pattern. It had the feel of a fall or winter type of look, where you have have cloud cover for a couple days and a mist or drizzle in the air.”