Florence is now on land and battering the Carolinas. We're dodging a bullet up here in the Mid-Atlantic, and are thankful for that, so we at FishTalk are switching our focus back on the opportunities that may (or may not) present themselves to anglers in the near future. For current updates on the storm we suggest visiting the Weather Channel.
Hurricane Florence, now spinning some 400 miles and change off the coast of the Carolinas, has been measured with waves up to 83 feet. Yes, 83 feet! Wave height in the maelstrom is ranging from 54 to 83 feet, according to the National Hurricane Center. The good news for Chesapeake country is that it now looks likely we will avoid a direct hit.
While many anglers and boat owners from Delaware down through Virginia have been pulling their boats, it now appears from the most recent tracks and forecasts that Maryland and Delaware, at least, will be more or less spared the brunt of the storm. Norfolk now has the northernmost Tropical Storm Warning, and only southern parts of Maryland remain in the likely area of tropical storm force winds (at 10-percent, with most of southern Maryland at just a five percent chance of winds over 39 mph).
Almost all of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania do, however, remain in the zone likely to see between one and three inches of rainfall. This will pack a punch, considering how saturated our ground already is after the monsoon season that was spring and summer, 2018. Additionally, the NWS Susquehanna River Hydrograph shows the Susquehanna currently sitting a mere half a foot below NWS Flood Stage and the gates are discharging at 266,000 cubic feet per second. In other words, there's still an epic flow coming from the dam, and if Florence dumps on us throughout the region it's likely to get worse.
Along the coast, meanwhile, there was already a good deal of little-reported damage from the past few days of extreme tides, rainfall, and wind. The city of Annapolis went through days of road closures in the downtown area, parts of the Ocean City boardwalk were covered in sand, and waves roared into fishing pier at deck-level. While Virginia Beach has been calmer to date, with hurricane Florence barreling towards land much of the town and the surrounding metro areas, Virginia's Eastern Shore, and many western Tidewater areas all the way up to the Northern Neck, are under evacuation orders. (You can find a map of VA evacuation areas, here.)
We will, as always, be publishing our Fishing Reports by noon on Friday. We must note, however, that in some areas they may be abbreviated due to the conditions. If you haven't yet taken any precautions and you're in or close to an area that's expected to be impacted by Florence, be sure to see How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane.