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Forecasters: Pennsylvania could see Florence impact early next week

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Hurricane Florence has yet to make landfall in the Carolinas, but forecasters are getting a better idea of how the storm will impact York County.

"If it does get up this far north, it’s probably not going to be until late in the weekend or even early next week, (on) Monday or Tuesday," said Tom Kines, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather in State College, on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Kines said meteorologists will have a better idea of the potential impact on Thursday or Friday, once it becomes clear how Florence will behave over land. 

Kines said there are two possible scenarios. In one, the storm will stall out over the Carolinas and rain most of itself out without making much northward movement.

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In the second, the storm could move inland and slowly drift north, in which case York County, and Pennsylvania overall, could see rain late into the weekend and early next week. 

This GOES East satellite image taken Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean as it threatens the U.S. East Coast, including Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. Millions of Americans are preparing for what could be one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades. Mandatory evacuations begin at noon Tuesday, for parts of the Carolinas and Virginia (NOAA via AP)

Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, said it looks like Florence will make landfall on Friday morning, and it might sit in one area and spin for a couple of days over the Carolinas, dropping a tremendous amount of rain in the region.

York County might not see any moisture from Florence until Tuesday, Sept. 18, Evanego said, but it's still too far out to be certain.

Forecast: Unrelated to Florence, Evanego said there will likely be scattered showers and the chance of a thunderstorm here or there over the next few days in York County, but he doesn't anticipate any widespread downpours or anything that could be measured in inches.

Kines added that the area is experiencing unusually high humidity right now and that it will likely continue for the next several days, possibly reaching a dew point of 70.

"That’s July stuff, not September," Kines said.

Kines said it's common to experience elevated humidity ahead of a tropical storm, but he emphasized that the presence of humidity related to Florence is not a predictor of the storm reaching York County. 

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York Fair: Brianna Holmes, spokeswoman for the York Fair, said the organizers haven't gone over attendance numbers yet for this year. She said the rain has made an impact, but people are still coming out for the concerts and indoor events.

The Froggy Free Stage had a full crowd for country group LANCO's performance on Sunday, Sept. 9, Holmes said.

Holmes said the York Fair usually doesn't close for weather, but organizers are still keeping an eye on Hurricane Florence.

"Every couple hours we’re checking up on it," she said. "I think that we’re going to get lucky and we’re going to have a great weekend."

Disaster declaration: York County spokesman Mark Walters said the county has extended its disaster declaration, issued on Sept. 1, until Oct. 7. 

Walters said county officials are considering activating the emergency operations center on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Department of Emergency Services, in Springettsbury Township, to coordinate the response to any new or exacerbated damage.

The county is still busy assessing damage from storms and flooding on Aug. 31.

"We are just kind of bracing for what the hurricane might bring (and) hoping that areas that were already damaged are not hit hard again," Walters said.

Walters encouraged residents to download the Federal Emergency Management Agency's smartphone app to receive up-to-date alerts about the storm's developments.