Forecast reduces hurricanes impact on North Georgia; heavy rains, wind still possible

Forecast reduces hurricane\s impact on North Georgia; heavy rains, wind still possible

Hurricane Florence expected to make landfall very soon; eyewall onshore

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Friday morning and continues to spread heavy rain and strong winds into the Carolinas, before kicking off an agonizing crawl through the Southeast into early next week, producing catastrophic inland rainfall flooding, life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds.

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. EDT with maximum sustained winds around 90 mph.

The eyewall, the worst part of Florence, near the coast of southeastern North Carolina and is only the beginning of what could be a record-wet siege from a tropical cyclone in parts of the Tar Heel State.

Areas from Edisto Beach to South Santee River in South Carolina were under both a storm surge and hurricane watch, while areas located north of Duck, N.C., to the states border with Virginia were under a storm surge watch, according to the NHC update.

The eyewall will move extremely slowly across the North Carolina coast through early Friday morning bringing extreme wind gusts and very heavy rainfall.

The storm is likely to bring significant rain to the Carolinas, where some places could see upwards of 20 inches, the update said. This is expected to cause "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding."

As of 10 a.m. EDT, Florence is located about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is slowly moving southwestward at 6 mph.

Emerald Isle, N.C. recorded 6.3 feet of storm surge "inundation," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A 5.5 foot surge of water near Morehead City was also recorded, the National Weather Service reported. 

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for parts of North Carolina until 5 p.m. EDT.

"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come," Cooper said. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience." 

Extreme rainfall is already occurring in eastern North Carolina. A flash flood emergency was issued for portions of Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties due to a combination of storm surge and heavy rainfall. This flash flood emergency includes New Bern and Morehead City.

An estimated 10 to 15 inches of rain has fallen across portions of coastal North Carolina as of early Friday.

The hurricane agency said a mix of storm surge and tides could result in flooding from rising water levels. Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, N.C., could see as much as 7 to 11 feet of water, according to the update.

Water levels remain elevated in Pamlico Sound in North Carolina and a gauge in Emerald Isle recorded a 7.0-foot surge Friday morning. A 10.1-foot storm surge was recorded very early Friday in New Bern.

Friday morning, Wilmington, North Carolina, recorded a wind gust to 105 mph, the second strongest wind on record here. A wind gust to 100 mph was reported at Cape Fear, North Carolina earlier Friday and a buoy about 50 miles to the east of the center of Florence's eye recently reported a wind gust to 112 mph.

Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern. We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue. More are on the way to help us. WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. #FlorenceNC

The highest sustained wind so far was reported in Cape Lookout, where sustained winds clocked in at 83 mph.

Officials in New Bern, a coastal town in Craven County, North Carolina, said at least 150 people were “awaiting rescue” early Friday morning as the dangerous hurricane moved ashore, packing 90-mph winds.

Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) extend outward up to 195 miles from the center.

A hurricane warning and storm surge warning are in effect from the South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, including the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. These warnings include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina, and most of the Outer Banks.

“More are on the way to help us,” New Bern officials tweeted early Friday. “You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU.”

Hurricane warnings also extend inland, including North Carolina cities such as Greenville, Goldsboro and Kinston.

Hurricane Florence: Carolinas to see more rain due to climate change

Hurricane watches and storm surge watches are in effect from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the South Santee River, South Carolina. This includes Charleston, South Carolina.

Emergency workers said theyd gotten more than 100 calls from residents in need of assistance, but there was no way to reach everyone immediately.

Florence could flood Prestages hog manure pits in North Carolina

Tropical storm warnings are in effect north of Duck, North Carolina, to Cape Charles Lighthouse, Virginia, as well as for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, Virginia, and from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the South Santee River, South Carolina. This includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

“Heavy rain from the remnants of Florence is possible late Monday into Tuesday,” the outlook said. “It is too early to say if flooding will result from the rain. Be sure to monitor the forecast the next few days for updates on the potential for flooding, as details become clearer.”

LIVE: South Carolina Governor Gives Update on Hurricane Florence Preparations at 2:30 PM

A hurricane warning means hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area and is typically issued 36 hours ahead of the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph), which could make last-minute preparations difficult.

Whatever happens in Upstate New York, it will be nothing like the potentially catastrphic flooding predicted in the Carolinas and Virginia. The strong, slow-moving storm is already pushing water levels high along the coast and in rivers, and could drop 20 inches or more of rain.

A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening storm-surge inundation within the warning area during the next 36 hours from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Initial forecasts last week indicated Florences remnants might miss Upstate entirely, but as the hurricane got closer and the forecast picture clearer, meteorologists say, the odds of impacts on the Northeast have risen.

Video: Gas station canopy toppled by howling Hurricane Florence winds

Wind gusts reached as high as 106 mph at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, late Thursday evening while a 105-mph gust was reported at Fort Macon, North Carolina.

The current thinking is that the remnants of Florence would be dragged into Upstate, along with some rain from another system, and drop up to 3 inches in a wide swath from Binghamton to the Capital Region.

Video: Hurricane Florence whips through Wilmington, NC

Winds were gusting as high as 99 mph at Fort Macon, North Carolina and sustained winds are blowing at 73 mph early Friday.

Syracuse, N.Y. — As Hurricane Florence begins battering the Carolinas, the first weather alert for its possible impacts on Upstate New York has been issued.

Sustained winds of 79 mph were recently reported in Davis, North Carolina, while a 77-mph sustained wind was recorded at Fort Macon, North Carolina.

“Flooding is possible with even two inches of rain,” the weather service said. “Ground will still be moist after the last few weeks of above-normal rain.”

As of 9 a.m. Friday, Swansboro, North Carolina has measured 14.25 inches of rainfall. Over 12 inches of rainfall has been reported near Calabash, North Carolina, with over 10 inches of rainfall near Surf City, North Carolina.

The National weather Service in Binghamton this morning issued a hazardous weather outlook, the first heads-up that troublesome weather is on the horizon.

On Thursday night, a storm surge of 10 feet above normal levels was reported by the National Weather Service office in Morehead City, North Carolina, at the Cherry Branch Ferry Terminal on the Neuse River, courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

According to radar images as of 7 a.m., the storm’s eye was drawing near the New Hanover-Pender County line. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office are waiting for the National Hurricane Center to confirm the track of the eyewall, which typically has the storm’s strongest winds.

A gauge at Oriental, North Carolina, on the Neuse River recorded a water height of about 6 feet above normal tide levels late Thursday.

“We’ve got to quickly understand the damage that’s been done to the transportation systems, the communication systems, the power systems, and we are positioning, and have bene positioned for multiple days now, to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can,” he said.

There continues to be overwash of the dunes at the "S" curves on Highway 12 near Rodanthe in the Outer Banks.

Strom surge that was projected between nine and twelve feet in Pamlico Sound and the Pamlico and Neuse rivers was expected to cause a “tremendous amount of inland flooding,” said Neil Jacobs, assistant secretary at the Commerce Department over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

5 p.m. update: Florence slows as it moves within 100 miles of Wilmington

Steering currents have fallen apart allowing Florence to slow down tremendously as it drifts toward the coast of the Carolinas.

“We call them disasters because they break things,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long told reporters while Florence was bearing down on the coastline. “The infrastructure is going to break. … The power is going to go out. It could be out for a number of days.”

VIDEO: New Bern, North Carolina Flooding From Florence

Gradual weakening is expected on Friday with significant weakening over the weekend as it moves farther inland. 

Corps staff worked with Army officials to review dams at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in South Carolina to “ensure any effects of Florence on those dams are mitigated,” said Ray Alexander, the Corps’ inter-agency services chief.

The National Hurricane Center noted late Wednesday that while Florence has weakened, "the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size. This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm-surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid."

Video: LATEST TRACK: Hurricane Florence bringing dangerous conditions as it hammers the coast

– Storm-Surge Impact: A destructive storm surge will accompany the eye coming ashore into Friday, and coastal flooding may persist through multiple high-tide cycles into this weekend east of the center of Florence. All evacuation orders from local officials should be followed because of this dangerous threat. Significant beach erosion is also likely on the southeastern U.S. coast. Elevated water levels may persist for some time after landfall in areas where onshore winds persist.

In April, The State newspaper in Columbia reported that an Army investigation had faulted Fort Jackson officials’ handling of a 2015 storm that caused an 80-year-old earthen dam to crumble and release 100 million gallons of water.

Video: LATEST TRACK: Hurricane Florence bringing dangerous conditions as it hammers the coast

Here are the latest storm-surge inundation forecasts from the National Hurricane Center if the eye of Florence arrives at high tide:

Video: LATEST TRACK: Hurricane Florence bringing dangerous conditions as it hammers the coast

– Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers: 7 to 11 feet, with locally higher amounts possible- Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet- South Santee River, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina: 4 to 6 feet- Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to Salvo, North Carolina: 4 to 6 feet- Salvo, North Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina: 2 to 4 feet- Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the South Santee River, South Carolina: 2 to 4 feet

Twenty-four to 36 hours remain of significant threat from heavy rain and heavy surge, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Those citizens who did not heed evacuation warnings, its time to stay where you are, do the best that you can to protect yourself."

As Florence Plows Into NC, Hundreds Rescued From Catastrophic Floods

The National Weather Service is forecasting a record tide level at Beaufort, North Carolina, Friday morning, topping levels seen during Hazel (1954) and Floyd (1999), among others.

More than 485,000 people had already lost power by 9:30 a.m. Friday with the highest concentration in Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wayne Counties, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported.

Police chief warns: No one to call in the storm

Battering waves will ride atop the storm surge, inflicting more damage to structures near the water as the hurricane arrives.

Forecasters said that given the storms size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

Tidal flooding will also occur with high tide as far north as the southern Chesapeake Bay, including along the tidal James River and Potomac River near the bay. The highest tides will occur late Friday morning into Friday afternoon. 

The National Hurricane Center said Florences eyewall made landfall at about 7:15 a.m. a few miles east of Wilmington, with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph that pushed life-threatening storm surges miles inland, and, combined with a persistent pelting rain, severely damaged buildings.

Florences eye moves toward S. Carolina

– High-Impact Rainfall: Florence will produce high-end flash flooding between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Morehead City, North Carolina.

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm creeps inland. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

The National Hurricane Center noted that "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians late this week into early next week."

The USGS said the tide in Emerald Isle, N.C. was 7 feet above sea level, while coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water. Nearly 46 miles farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

That heavy rain threat may last for days into early next week in some areas, given Florence's slow movement.

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Disastrous flooding is expected in some areas, not simply near the coastal Carolinas where the heaviest rain totals are forecast, but also in the Appalachians where heavy rain over mountainous terrain is likely to trigger mudslides and rockslides. See the link below for more information.

Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye. Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/ovZozsncfh

Hurricane Florence to Hit U.S. Mainland: 5 Storm-Stock Picks

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to produce the following rainfall totals:

This is why the big picture matters, and listening to the official evacuation orders. These two photos are the same – just cropped differently. Please stay safe down there! #HurricaneFlorence #Horizons pic.twitter.com/V42GFkjbLi

– Coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina: an additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated totals up to 40 inches- Rest of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches

The runoff from these incredible rainfall totals will continue for days, and then will enter the riverways of the Carolinas. Flooding may swell these watersheds for weeks, if not months.

Florence is expected to strike North Carolinas coast on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, according to Miamis National Hurricane Center (NHC).

– Wind Impact: Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are occurring over portions of coastal North Carolina and are expected to spread across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina through Friday. Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected to spread inland across the remainder of the warning area through Saturday. Numerous downed trees and long-lasting power outages could occur near and inland from where the center of Florence strikes.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

NC governor speaks: Dont get complacent over threats from approaching Florence

This threat of tree damage and power outages may also extend across Florence's larger swath of tropical-storm-force winds and may last for an extended period of time into this weekend. Structural damage to homes and buildings is possible, particularly where the core of any hurricane-force winds moves through.

– Tornadoes: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern and southeastern North Carolina through Friday. These tornadoes should be weak and short-lived but could add to damage caused by rainfall or straight-line hurricane winds.

The name Florence has been used for Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes since 1953. The destructive potential of this iteration could mean the name Florence may be retired from future use.

Tropical Depression Six formed late on Aug. 31, then was named Tropical Storm Florence the next day in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean.

On Sept. 5, Florence became a Category 4 hurricane after rapidly intensifying over the open Atlantic Ocean.

Florence underwent rapid intensification a second time Sunday into Monday, when its winds jumped up from 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours ending 12 p.m. EDT Monday.


Posted in Gainesville