With One Last Insult to Injury, Hurricane Florence Remnant Rains on North Carolina

Invest 98L
Invest 98L is a distant relative of Hurricane Florence, energized by the former storm's remants. The disturbance is forecast to bring rain tonight and into Wednesday morning to the North Carolina coast. National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Florence led a strange and unusual life, so it should not be a great surprise that the storm is delivering one last insult tonight to North Carolina, the state it ravaged with flooding more than a week ago.

Florence, of course, was never supposed to hit the Carolinas or the U.S. East Coast in the first place. Consider that since 1851, of the 33 named-storms that churned within 100 miles of Florence's position in the middle of the Atlantic, none made U.S. landfall. Florence, of course, defied those odds.

Also, hurricanes don't normally completely stall out for several days either just after making landfall, but that's what Florence did, inundating North Carolina and parts of South Carolina with flash flooding and river flooding like the region has never experienced before.

More than one week later, some areas of South Carolina are still facing flood risk and North Carolina is just getting stabilized, with major Interstates only reopening in recent days and many just beginning the assessment and clean up. Yet the forecast late Tuesday afternoon, tonight and into the morning for many along North Carolina's coast calls for rain – rain that will fall from a Hurricane Florence remnant that could not help but make another appearance in the Tar Heel state.

Here's how that happened. After making landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, Hurricane Florence slogged around the Carolinas for days, before it moved north and mostly disintegrated and its remnant was carried out into the Atlantic Ocean. Its leftover energy there helped spawn two systems with tropical characteristics, one of which sits about 200 miles off the North Carolina coast that's named Invest 98L by the National Hurricane Center.

This relative of Hurricane Florence is a "broad area of low pressure" that continues to "produce disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms," the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon in its latest update. It's possible that this organized low-pressure system could develop into a named tropical depression by tonight but there's no certainty, forecasters said. The National Hurricane Center gives Invest 98L a 50 percent chance of development within the next 48 hours.

What's more likely is that this Florence remnant, now Invest 98L, will "bring scattered showers and thunderstorms across portions of northeastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina this afternoon and tonight," the NHC said. "In addition, dangerous surf conditions and rip currents are expected along portions of the North Carolina coast today."

The good news is that wind shear will disrupt the system as it nears the North Carolina coast, keeping convection at bay, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington. So, while many along the North Carolina coast will get another dose of Florence, it will be more of an insult to the previous injury than a damaging storm.

"As the low off shore tracks toward the Cape Fear coast, it will come up against increasing mid to upper level SW flow which will help increase shear on the west side and help guide it up toward the north before it reaches the coast this evening into overnight tonight," the National Weather Service in Wilmington said Tuesday afternoon. "Expect main convective activity to diminish by late evening as winds back further around to the W-SW with drier air and subsidence increasing over the area."

The forecast for Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Tuesday night is for a 60 percent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms.