Flooding rains continue as Florence pounds Carolina coast

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As of 11 a.m. Friday, Hurricane Florence continues to pound the North Carolina coast... and the storm has slowed to just 3 mph.

The Wilmington area has seen flooding rains and clocked winds gusting over 100 mph as Florence hit the area this morning. Flooding rains continue to fall from Wilmington up the coast to the south reaches of the Outer Banks. Heavy rains have already shift east into the Raleigh area and portions of central North Carolina.

For the WBTV viewing area, our eastern counties will begin to experience higher winds and heavier bands of rain as we head into Friday evening. Conditions in the Charlotte metro will deteriorate during the day on Saturday. The heaviest rain will arrive late Saturday night and overnight into Sunday morning. Expect torrential periods of rain during the day on Sunday.

With the storm now tracking south of Charlotte into the Columbia area, we will see some very heavy and hefty rainfall amounts. In Charlotte 6 to 8 inches of rain are possible. To the east of Charlotte, the rainfall amounts are even higher. Areas like Albemarle and Rockingham could see 15 to 20 inches of rain.

Here are some of the main hazards that can be expected over the next 24 to 48 hours along the North Carolina coast and areas just inland. This is the latest from the 11 am update from the National Hurricane Center:

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground...

  • Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC...7-11 ft, with locally higher amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers
  • Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC...6-9 ft
  • South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC...4-6 ft
  • Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC...4-6 ft
  • Salvo NC to Duck NC...2-4 ft
  • Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC...2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas...

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina...an additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated storm totals of 30 to 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

Remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest Virginia...5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches. This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.

Rainfall totals exceeding 14 inches thus far have been reported at several locations across southeastern North Carolina.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina today.

SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

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