OU meteorologists early Friday near eye of Hurricane Florence
A team of University of Oklahoma meteorologists are in the direct path of Hurricane Florence early Friday as the storm heads for their radar truck near Wilmington, North Carolina.
With winds gusting near 85 mph about 5:20 a.m., OU meteorologist Mike Biggerstaff said the eye of Florence was headed straight for the SMART Radar truck location.
Inside the truck, he watched radar of the hurricane while parked on the Interstate 144 bridge over Cape River just outside Wilmington. The eye of Florence was 20 miles to the east and moving at 10 mph toward his location.
Biggerstaff, in a text message said, "We are still on the Cape Fear River bridge. Very gusty winds. Gusts around 85 mph. Will be in eyewall soon. Could last hours. Intense."
Radar showed possible tornadic activity forming as clouds rotated, he said. Biggerstaff said the crew was prepared to move to a different location for safety if necessary.
"Brief tornadoes are certainly possible," Biggerstaff said,.
Biggerstaff is one of five meteorologists from OU who are providing weather updates to the National Weather Service and other federal agencies while collecting hurricane data to study later.
The OU team can be followed on Twitter at @OU_SRs.
Other teams of volunteers from Oklahoma have also responded to the Hurricane Florence areas. The Oklahoma Task Force 1 Swift Water Rescue team have been deployed to assist in the area. The Oklahoma Army National Guard deployed a helicopter search and rescue team that is also awaiting rescue assignments, officials reported Thursday.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. have also been deployed, officials reported.
Check NewsOK.com for updates.