ROANOKE, Va – Florence is still out in the Atlantic, but as time goes on, it appears that it has its eyes set on the East Coast of the U.S. Where exactly, is the million dollar question, but that should become clearer in the coming days.
Virginia is no stranger to the effects of land-falling hurricanes, but it's been awhile since this part of the state has felt those impacts.
The track Florence has taken to this point has been very rare. Typically from where Florence originated, northern Africa, it is safely steered out to sea. It unfortunately looks like that won't be the case this time.
The most comparable tracks, East Coast land-falling hurricanes that affected this part of Virginia, would be Hurricane Gracie in 1959 and Hurricane Fran in 1996.
The center of Fran passed very close to Danville dropping 8 inches of rain over much of the area. All rivers in the central part of the state recorded major flooding. Record flooding occurred at the Dan River at South Boston. 560,000 people in Virginia lost power.
Gracie brought heavy rain and wind to the region. Widespread 2-4 inches of rain fell across the area with isolated higher amounts. Three F-3 tornadoes spawned from Gracie affecting Albemarle, Greene and Fluvanna counties.
**Other notables (Came from the Gulf of Mexico, but had significant impacts on southwest, Virginia.):
Hurricane Juan (1985):
This storm provided the region with the flood of memory and one of the worst natural disasters for the state of Virginia. Juan stalled over the Allegheny Highlands producing 10 to 20 inches of rain, causing massive flooding through Roanoke and much of the region over late October and early November.
Hurricane Ivan (2004):
Ivan was a massive tornado producer for Virginia. 40 tornadoes were produced by Ivan, which is the record for a single-day outbreak in Virginia.
Hurricane Jeanne (2004):
Hurricane Jeanne followed Ivan in a very active hurricane season. Flooding was the primary hazard from Jeanne as it moved through the commonwealth. The heaviest rain -- 3 to 7 inches fell across the New River Valley and southern Shenandoah Valley. An F1 tornado touched down in Pittsylvania.
**Florence has a potentially more dangerous track than these other storms. Florence also has the potential to stall across the region produce extreme rainfall.**