Hurricane Florence is a tropical cyclone which originated in western Africa on August 28, 2018, moving on a westerly course across the Atlantic Ocean and becoming a hurricane on September 4 over 1,200 miles to the west of the Cape Verde islands. The storm's rapid increase in intensity to Category 4 caught meteorologists off guard, with predictions that its landfall in North Carolina will be catastrophic.
- August 28: the National Hurricane Center in Miami monitored the formation of a tropical wave over Senegal in west Africa.
- August 30: moisture and a low pressure zone allowed it to gain strength along the west African coast.
- August 31: Surface pressures at Santiago, Cape Verde Islands, fell to 1005 mbar (hPa; 29.68 inHg) at 6:00 pm, local time. The NHC classifies it as Tropical Depression 6.
- September 1: intensifies to a tropical storm. NHC assigned the name Florence.
- September 2: maximum sustained winds measured at 60 mph at 9:00 AM. Structure of storm would fluctuate during the next 24 hours, leaving meteorologists uncertain.
- September 4: rapid change in intensity caused it to be classified as a hurricane roughly 1,240 WNW of Cape Verde Islands.
- September 5: Florence continued to intensify, becoming a severe hurricane at 12:35 UTC. NHC recorded wind speeds of 130 mph and a barometric pressure of 953 mbar (hPa; 28.14 inHg), classifying it as a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
- September 6-7: low-shear caused Florence to track towards the north, with the amount of shear during this period resulting in a loss of structure of the storm cloud. As a result, a weakened Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm.
- September 8-10: Florence began reorganizing, regaining hurricane strength by the afternoon of the 9th, and rapidly regaining Category 4 strength on the 10th.
Early blame against Trump
Florence was still far out to sea before the mainstream media decided to connect the hurricane to the subject of man-made global warming, and to seemingly blame President Donald Trump for the storm's creation. On September 11, 2018, the Washington Post published an editorial which declared Trump and everyone else who denies global warming to be complicit. "Yet when it comes to extreme weather," the author wrote, "Mr. Trump is complicit. He plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks. It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change. But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth’s systems to produce disasters."
In response to the Post article, Conservative strategist Chris Barron stated "This column is so absurd it should be coming from The Onion not the Washington Post. To the extent that climate change is happening, it is a global phenomenon that has been occurring for decades and decades. The media won’t give Trump credit for the economy but they will blame him for a hurricane. You can’t make this stuff up."
Meteorologists and other scientists have pushed back against the claim that President Trump was "complicit" in Hurricane Florence.
- Murphy, James (September 17, 2018). Mainstream Media Uses Hurricane Florence as a Political Tool. The New American. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
- Richardson, Valerie (September 17, 2018). How liberals' rush to blame Trump for hurricane activity is debunked by science. The Washington Times. Retrieved September 18, 2018.