Flash flood fears as Storm Florence batters US

Pablo Tucker
September 17, 2018

Meanwhile, in SC, at least one gator seemed to be cool with the outer bands of wind and rain that whipped the Myrtle Beach area.

-So far: almost 31 inches (79 centimeters) of rain was reported in Swansboro, on the North Carolina coast, and forecasters Saturday expected another 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) in parts of the Carolinas.

Parts of West-central Virginia and far eastern West Virginia will see "life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with an elevated risk for landslides", according to the agency.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

The Associated Press reports the storm may unload 18 trillion gallons of rain on the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

"The amount of water and the storm surge was very overwhelming", he said. And there could be 10 inches (25 cm) in south-western Virginia.

In North Carolina, unrelenting rains were expected to swell the Cape Fear River to 62 feet next week, 3 feet higher than during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. And as of Saturday morning, several other locations scattered across the county were on the verge of passing the 20-inch mark.

Storm Florence has battered the eastern United States coast with non-stop rain, surging seawater and howling winds. The record was set by Hurricane Helene in 1958 with 135 miles per hour.

Florence is forecast to "drop nearly double" the volume of rain over the state compared to Floyd, tweeted Ryan Maue, meteorologist for weathermodels.com.

Most of the fatalities from Florence, which made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, have occurred in North Carolina, where officials confirmed eight victims. It continues to chug west, slowing down from 5 miles per hour to 2 miles per hour.

"It's like being stalked by a turtle", FEMA associate director Jeffrey Byard said about the slow-moving storm, as Fox News reported. As of Saturday afternoon, about 752,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.

Some towns have received more than two feet of rain from Florence, and forecasters warned that drenching rains totalling up to three-and-a-half feet of water could trigger epic flooding well inland through early next week. One model even shows the potential for an additional 30 inches, although that may be overdone.

No. 2 Clemson and Georgia Southern got a sunny sky in Clemson, South Carolina, while every other major school in the region called off or relocated games because of Florence.

North Carolina's Harnett County has declared a mandatory evacuation along a river that's expected to rise to more than 17 feet above flood stage.

That's how hard the wind gusted in North Carolina's New River inlet.

Parts of North and SC can expect an additional 10 to 15 inches.

The expanded flash flood watch includes Bedford, Charlottesville, Staunton and Lexington and is in effect through Monday evening.

But with half of the storm still out over the Atlantic, Florence continued to collect warm ocean water and dump it onshore.

He said "24 to 36 hours remain for significant threats" from heavy rain, storm surges and flooding. However, there remains a large amount of uncertainty in the ultimate track of what will become post tropical storm Florence.

Other reports by iNewsToday