Warnings of ‘catastrophic and historic’ flooding as experts say worst of Hurricane Florence yet to come

"For many (most?) places, the worst of Florence's flooding is still on the way. Still expecting record or near-record flooding across a large part of North Carolina in the days to come."

SOURCECommon Dreams
Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After tearing through the Carolinas for several days, Hurricane Florence severely damaged tens of thousands of homes, killed over a dozen people, left nearly a million households without power, and unleashed thousands of cubic yards of toxic coal ash – and authorities are warning that the worst flooding from the storm is yet to come.

“For many (most?) places, the worst of Florence’s flooding is still on the way,” meteorologist Eric Holthaus noted in a tweet on Sunday. “Still expecting record or near-record flooding across a large part of North Carolina in the days to come.”

While the National Hurricane Center on Sunday downgraded Florence to a tropical depression, the storm continues to dump heavy rain in North, South Carolina, and southwest Virginia, increasing the risk of landslides and additional damage.

“Catastrophic and historic river flooding will continue for days across portions of the Carolinas,” the National Weather Service warned in a Facebook post late Sunday. “Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall over the next couple of days. Portions of the Carolinas, mid-Atlantic states, and Southern New England are expected to receive an additional two to five inches of rain…with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches possible.”

CNN meteorologist Michael Guy added: “The issue for the Carolinas then becomes the river flooding continuing for the rest of the week. All the rain that fell on the eastern flank of the Appalachians down into central portions of the state has to go somewhere. This water will flow downstream to areas already impacted from flooding rains from Florence. Thus, the rivers will take some time to recede.”

Videos and photos posted to social media depicting completely flooded freeways, homes half underwater, and buildings destroyed provide a glimpse of the immense scale of the devastation Florence has wrought across the Carolinas.

“The mammoth amounts of rain observed in southern North Carolina are virtually certain to eclipse anything measured in an East Coast tropical cyclone north of Florida,” noted Bob Henson of the Weather Underground.

“The storm has never been more dangerous than it is now,” North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Roy Cooper said during a press conference on Sunday. “Many rivers are still rising, and are not expected to crest until later today or tomorrow.”


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