Hurricane Florence

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Florence Update from NBAA Air Traffic Services

Updated Sept. 13, 2018, 1830 EDT

According to the National Hurricane Center’s Advisory #58, issued at 2100z:

At 500 PM EDT, data from NOAA Doppler weather radars indicate that the center of the eye of Florence was located near latitude 33.7 North, longitude 76.2 West. Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 5 mph (7 km/h), and this general motion is forecast to continue into Friday. A slow westward to west- southwestward motion is expected Friday night and Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Friday. A slow motion across portions of eastern and central South Carolina is forecast Friday night through Saturday night.

Doppler radar data indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 100 mph (155 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected before the eye of Florence reaches the coast, with slow weakening expected after the center moves inland or meanders near the coast. More significant weakening is forecast on Saturday as Florence moves farther inland over central South Carolina.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). A NOAA reporting station at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 68 mph (109 km/h) and a gust to 85 mph (137 km/h).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 955 mb (28.20 inches).

Airport & Equipment

We are beginning to see numerous airport closures or ATC Zero situations reported to the Command Center as the first outer bands of Florence have made it inland and we've already had gusts exceeding hurricane strength (64 knots). ATC Zero means that the tower has been evacuated, which means that the airfield becomes uncontrolled. Individual airport managers or airport authorities are responsible for issuing NOTAMs to close or reopen an airport, not the FAA. The FAA has many of these posted on their OIS page. However, as this large storm moves further inland, it is likely that the OIS page will not be able to reflect all closures or ATC Zero situations. This is where we remind you to check NOTAMs and call your FBO of choice to confirm their status and services available. Please exercise caution operating anywhere near this storm.

The National Operations Control Center (NOCC) at the Command Center has posted these equipment issues:

  • FORT FISHER, NC (QGV) NDAG 118.05/251.30, 121.50, 127.725 AND 350.02 MHZ PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0911/1138-0917/2000Z.
  • FORT FISHER, NC (QGV) ATCRB PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0912/1600-0917/1600Z.
  • FORT BRAGG, NC (FBG) ASR PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0912/1900-0917/1500Z.
  • WILMINGTON, NC (ILM) RWY 17 REIL FAILED.
  • WILMINGTON, NC (ILM) ASR/MODES PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0912/2230-0917/1900Z.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SC (MYR) RWY 18/36 (MYR/BSQ) LOC/GS PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0917/2000Z.
  • MYYRTLE BEACH, SC (MYR) RWY 36 (BSQ) ALS PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0920/2000Z.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SC (MYR) RWY 36 (BSQ) PAPI PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0920/2000Z.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SC (MYR) ASR/ATCRB PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0920/2000Z.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SC (MYR) NDAG 228.75 MHZ PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0920/2000Z.
  • KINGSTON, SC (ISO) RWY 05 (ISO) GS FAILED.
  • GEORGETOWN, SC (GGE) RTR 254.35 MHZ PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1200-0920/2000Z.
  • FLORENCE, SC (FLO) ASR/MODES PROTECTIVE SHUTDOWN 0913/1430-0920/2000Z.

NOTAMs are your best source of information regarding airport, equipment and facility status.

Route Information

Still tactical at this time as most operators are filing away from the storm. Now that the outer bands have made it inland, required reroutes are becoming more likely, especially during the day tomorrow. An airspace flow program would not be out of the question either. Your best source for these routes is the FAA's Current Reroutes page.

Resources

NBAA Airspace/Airport Alerts are informational in nature. Official current NOTAMs are available from Flight Service Stations at 1-800-WX-BRIEF. Notices, restrictions, and advisories may change at any time and without notice. Do not attempt any operation in the National Airspace System without first obtaining and understanding a thorough pre-flight briefing. In addition to talking to a FSS Specialist, operators can use the FAA NAIMES website to check for the latest TFRs.