Flooding threat increases for eastern North Carolina

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The threat for catastrophic flooding has increased across much of Eastern North Carolina due to the slowing down or stalling of Florence near the area, according to the latest update from the National Weather Service. The update states that the current rainfall forecast indicates widespread amounts of 15 to 25 inches with locally higher amounts in excess of 35 inches possible. These rainfall totals are likely to cause significant widespread flooding, especially in areas that have had a history of flooding. Life threatening flash flooding could occur Thursday through Saturday. The rain will start Thursday and could continue through the weekend. Major river flooding expected across the area. Local and upstream rainfall will cause area rivers to flood. Many will reach flood stage as early as Friday, and will continue to rise well into next week. Given the generally slow rise of area rivers, most won’t crest until mid to late next week extending the impacts from this long fuse flood event. River forecasts are produced using 72 hours of rainfall.

* SURGE: Protect against life-threatening surge having possible devastating impacts across areas adjacent to Pamlico Sound, Neuse, Bay and Pamlico Rivers, and along the Crystal Coast. Potential impacts in this area include:

  • Widespread deep inundation, with storm surge flooding greatly accentuated by powerful battering waves. Structural damage to buildings, with many washing away. Damage greatly compounded from considerable floating debris. Locations may be uninhabitable for an extended period.
  • Near-shore escape routes and secondary roads washed out or severely flooded. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed.
  • Extreme beach erosion. New shoreline cuts possible.
  • Massive damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. Numerous small craft broken away from moorings with many lifted onshore and stranded.

* FLOODING RAIN: Protect against life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible devastating impacts across much of Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts include:

  • Extreme rainfall flooding may prompt numerous evacuations and rescues.
  • Rivers and tributaries may overwhelmingly overflow their banks in many places with deep moving water. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may become raging rivers. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed.
  • Flood waters can enter numerous structures within multiple communities, some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed away. Numerous places where flood waters may cover escape routes. Streets and parking lots become rivers of raging water with underpasses submerged. Driving conditions become very dangerous. Numerous road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out.

* WIND: Protect against life-threatening wind having possible devastating impacts across most of Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts in this area include:

  • Structural damage to sturdy buildings, some with complete roof and wall failures. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Damage greatly accentuated by large airborne projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
  • Numerous large trees snapped or uprooted along with fences and roadway signs blown over.
  • Many roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. Many bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable.
  • Widespread power and communications outages.

* TORNADOES: Protect against a tornado event having possible limited impacts across Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts include:

  • The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events.
  • A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions.
  • Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings.

For more information about preparation, click here.