Tornado watch, wind amounts upped in latest Florence update

Published 9:14 am Thursday, September 13, 2018

A tornado watch has been issued for most of eastern North Carolina including Beaufort County. Hurricane Florence is located approximately 180 miles south-southeast of Buxton, 180 miles southeast of Morehead City and is moving at 15 mph.

The storm was downgraded to Category 2 overnight, but officials are still warning of the life-threatening impact it could have as it makes landfall later today, then either slows considerably, or stalls over the coast.

Of particular importance is the potential for historic flooding throughout the region.

According to the National Weather Service, extreme storm surge impacts are expected with Hurricane Florence. Based on the current forecast, inundation of up to 9 to 13 feet above ground will be possible near and to the north and east of the center of the storm across the southern North Carolina coast, including the Pamlico Sound, Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, as well as adjacent streams and bays. A small shift in the track could change what locations may see the most significant inundation, the latest NWS update reads.

The wind threat has fluctuated again, with maximum sustained winds projected at 56 mph for Washington and 58 mph for Belhaven. Gusts could reach up to 70 and 72 mph respectively.

(National Weather Service)

Total rainfall amounts of 8-10 on the south side of the Pamlico River and 6-8 inches on the north side are expected. South of Beaufort County, rainfall amounts are expected to be much greater: 15-20 inches are predicted for Bayboro and New Bern, while Jacksonville and Emerald Isle are expected to get 20-30 inches.

The following highways are expected to be impacted by flooding: N.C. Highway 24H in Onslow and Carteret counties; N.C. Highway 70 in Carteret County at Newport; U.S. Highway 17 and 58 in Jones County and I-40 in Duplin County.

Most rivers will reach flood stage this weekend, but river crests will not occur until next week.