Florence downgraded to Tropical Depression, remains major threat

Sep 16, 2018

The National Hurricane Center says Florence has weakened to a depression but flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a significant portion of the Carolinas. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect. Interests in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence due to the heavy rainfall threat.

A Tornado Watch is in effect for portions of southeastern NC through 5 p.m. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue on Monday although the flash flooding threat will decrease. Rivers continue to rise across the state and many are currently at or forecast to rise above major flood stage.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical depression, centered at 5 a.m. EDT inland over South Carolina about 20 miles (35 km) southwest of Columbia. It's moving toward the west near 8 mph (13 km/h). On the forecast track, Florence's center will move across the western Carolinas today and then recurve over the Ohio Valley and Northeast U.S. Monday and Tuesday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Continued gradual weakening is forecast during the next couple of days.

Florence has been blamed for about a dozen deaths and has sent thousands to shelters.  Governor Roy Cooper says rivers in North Carolina could crest as late as Wednesday.  Cooper said the threat cannot be overstated - "Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life."

Tropical Depression Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas: Central and western North Carolina into far southwest Virginia...An additional 5 to 10 inches, with storm total accumulations of 15 to 20 inches in western North Carolina. These rainfall amounts will produce catastrophic flash flooding, prolonged significant river flooding, and an elevated risk for landslides in western North Carolina and far southwest Virginia. Southern North Carolina into Northern South Carolina...An additional 4 to 6 inches, isolated 8 inches. This rainfall will result in additional flash flooding while also worsening the river flooding. Storm total accumulations of 30 to 40 inches in southeast North Carolina. West-central Virginia, north of Roanoke and west of Charlottesville...2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches. This rainfall will result in flash flooding and potentially lead to some river flooding.