Florence’s excessive rainfall to trigger natural disaster in the Carolinas
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 15, 2018, 11:05:22 AM EDT
Share this article:
Feet of rain from Florence could lead to catastrophic flash flooding and major river flooding in parts of the Carolinas and possibly other neighboring states.
Some communities in the Carolinas may be under water for days and possibly a week or more.
As AccuWeather meteorologists have warned about since the middle of the soggy and in some cases record wet summer, any tropical storm or hurricane that moves over saturated ground in the eastern United States during the height of the hurricane season may lead to disastrous flooding.
"Strength, track and forward speed of Florence will be the major players in determining the scope and amount of rainfall and correspondingly the severity of inland flooding," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Brace for flooding on par with Floyd, Joaquin and other blockbuster hurricanes
In addition to storm surge flooding, inland flooding will escalate from urban and poor drainage areas to small streams. However, even as torrential rain ceases days after the initial first drops from Florence, major rivers in the region are likely to reach major flood stage.
Record flooding is possible.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up-to-date with Florence’s expected track and impacts to the U.S.
"People should expect not only travel disruptions but also disruptions to daily activities related to work or school."
Moving the most valuable items out of the basement and first floor onto the second floor in flood-prone areas may be of interest. Gathering important papers and irreplaceable photographs are also a good idea.
As the rain pours down during the storm, inland evacuations may become necessary and the time for completing such tasks will come to an end as travel becomes increasing difficult and dangerous.
Some low-lying roads that are not flooded at the onset of the storm may become flooded during the weekend and early next week.
Have a plan of action in place ahead of the flooding. Work-at-home plans may not be an option in some communities where the power goes out or flooding commences. Without a means of power, computer and cell phone batteries will drain.
Reports: Florence kills at least 11, triggers flash flood emergencies in North Carolina as ‘frightening’ rainfall ensues
Florence to lash Carolinas with coastal battering, hammering winds and inland flooding through weekend
Florence may fuel torrential rain, flooding risk in northeastern US early this week
Preparing for the costliest weather disaster in the US: How to stay safe before, during and after a flood
What you should do if you get stuck driving in floodwaters
Which areas are likely to be hit the hardest by inland flooding?
Florence has the potential to cause a storm record rainfall in North Carolina and South Carolina.
"At this time, the scenario for 1-2 feet of rain with a AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 40 inches centered on portions of the Carolinas from Florence is on target," Kottlowski said.
This is due to Florence stalling over or moving very slowly through the region.
AccuWeather Local StormMax™ is more hyper local than other sources, and AccuWeather is predicting higher rainfall amounts than other sources. If 40 inches of rain fall, it will be the heaviest amount of rain from a single storm in the lower 48 states since Hurricane Harvey last year.
The 24-hour flash flood threshold ranges from 1 inch in the Appalachians to near 6 inches along the Carolina coast. Rainfall is forecast to exceed that range by a substantial margin.
Over 20 inches of rain has already fallen on portions of southeastern North Carolina since the start of the storm.
Enough rain to cause major flooding is likely in part of northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and perhaps southern West Virginia, assuming the Florence continues to drift westward later this weekend into early next week.
A slight shift in the storm track even after landfall could bring rainfall of that magnitude into southern Virginia or farther south in Georgia.
There is a risk of flooding in part of the Northeast from Florence, but not until next week.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 1:30:54 PM EST
Drenching thunderstorms may do more than ruin weekend plans across central South America. Flash flooding can be triggered in some communities from northern parts of Argentina and Uruguay to southern Brazil.
Photos: Unusual November snowstorm clobbers Northeast; Gridlock traffic creates maze of New York City streets, bridges
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 1:45:50 PM EST
A major winter storm slammed the eastern United States Wednesday into Friday, causing travel disruptions, massive power outages, school closures, and numerous injuries and fatalities.
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 1:02:09 PM EST
As cleanup efforts commence in the wake of Cyclone Gaja, another round of potentially flooding rain is aiming at southern India next week.
Camp Fire death toll increases to 63; San Francisco pulls famed cable cars off the roads due to poor air quality
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 1:39:19 PM EST
More than a week after first igniting in Butte County, California, the news surrounding the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California history remains grim.
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 12:09:33 PM EST
The prospect of near- to below-average temperatures and an active storm track along the coast should bode well for skiers and snow lovers from the interior South to the coastal mid-Atlantic and New England this winter.
Did you know that the average American throws away approximately 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year?
In case you missed it: Major winterlike storm strands Northeastern motorists; Flooding forces tourists to flee ancient Jordan site
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 11:17:13 AM EST
At least a dozen people were killed in Middle Eastern flooding this week while the U.S. dealt with deadly wildfires and a major winterlike storm.
Weather News - November 16, 2018, 11:27:17 AM EST
While nothing like the storm that recently clobbered the northeastern United States is in store for much of the Midwest, a narrow batch of snow will streak from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes region with slippery travel into this weekend.