Tropical Storm Florence, presently circulating in the south-central Atlantic Ocean, may move north and east and make landfall somewhere along the US East Coast later this week. If the storm reaches this area of the ocean, unsually warm water will cause it to increase rapidly in strength. This is the same effect that has been present in the Gulf of Mexico since the early part of this century.

Until now Florence’s track has been unstable, but it appears now from computer models to be settling into a more clear pattern. The storm’s northward and eastward movement is being blocked by an unusually intense high pressure area to its north. It is possible that it will roll along this high pressure ridge until it hits the east coast. It is not impossible, unfortunately, that it could become another superstorm like Sandy, which caused so much human suffering and $70 billion in damage across the region in 2012.