Forecast improves for Isle of Wight

Published 10:34 am Friday, September 14, 2018


According to Isle of Wight County’s IW Alert system and the latest forecast from the National Weather Service, Isle of Wight County is not expected to see sustained tropical storm force winds today. Winds in Isle of Wight likely peaked around 6 o’clock this morning and will very gradually taper off from this point on.

Sustained winds will be from the mid-teens to high-20s. Current wind speeds are projected to remain the same through around 4 p.m., and possibly extend through 7 p.m. in the Carrollton area. The possibility of tropical storm gusts of up to 40 mph still exists, especially in the southern end of the county, and this afternoon’s tide will likely be about a foot higher than yesterday’s.

A coastal flood warning remains in effect for Isle of Wight until 6 a.m. Sunday. A coastal flood warning means that flooding is occurring or imminent. No storm surge watches or warnings are currently issued for Virginia. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for areas north of Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia.

The NWS is currently forecasting 2 to 3-plus inches of rainfall for Isle of Wight with locally higher amounts possible. Depending on the duration of Florence’s stall, the county could also see higher rain totals. Dangerous flash flooding may occur Friday through the weekend.

Moderate to major tidal flooding is forecast for Isle of Wight. Based on the current tide forecast, it looks like the Friday afternoon high tide cycle may see the highest tidal levels for Isle of Wight, with similar tide heights during Saturday’s daytime high tide. Depending on the length of Florence’s stall, the number of higher than normal high tide cycles may be extended. High tides for the Pagan River will occur at 2:57 p.m. on Friday, 3:17 a.m. on Saturday and 3:47 p.m. on Saturday. High tides at the James River bridge will occur at 2:02 p.m. on Friday, 2:21 a.m. on Saturday and 2:54 p.m. on Saturday.

The NWS still has Isle of Wight in the moderate risk level for inland flooding. Flooding in low-lying areas and ditch overflow will also likely be an issue, especially on back roads. Flooding due to rainfall could persist through the weekend.

The potential for major flooding along the Blackwater River has decreased again this morning. The forecast models are now projecting a worst case maximum river level just into the minor flood stage (12 feet) on Monday. However, the most likely forecast level is still around 8 feet, which is well below the minor flooding level through next Friday, Sept. 21. The forecast information available only projects through next Friday.

Storm surge zone A in Isle of Wight County remains under the governor’s evacuation order.

As of 7 a.m. this morning there are no reported power outages in the county. The county’s emergency operations center will transition to virtual operations in conjunction with the county’s emergency shelter at Windsor High School closing today.

The county has set up a public inquiry phone line at 365-6205. Updates can also be found on the county’s Facebook page.

As of 5 o’clock this morning, Florence was a category 1 hurricane located about 35 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving toward the east southeast at 6 mph. Wind speeds were at about 90 mph. Florence’s intensity is not expected to change much in the next 12 hours or so that it has over water. Florence’s high wind fields have remained the same — tropical force winds extend up to 195 miles and hurricane force winds now extend 80 miles from the center.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina on Friday and Saturday. Florence will then move generally northward across the western across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.