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article imageFlorence is going to sit in place, producing 'extreme rainfall'

By Karen Graham     Sep 13, 2018 in Environment
Storm surges of nine to 13 feet and rainfall up to 40 inches: those are two of the direst warnings about Hurricane Florence's impact on parts of North and South Carolina. The massive storm has forced more than one million people to flee.
Florence is still a Category 2 tropical cyclone, and now it has started to stall. It is still about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Florence is moving toward the west-northwest at almost 5 mph (7 kph).
The storm is expected to maintain this forward motion into Friday when a slow westward to west-southwestward motion is expected Friday night and into Saturday. The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina on Friday.
The storm still has maximum sustained winds near 100 mph (155 kph) with higher gusts. The National Hurricane Center warns that little change in strength is expected before the eye of Florence reaches the coast, with slow weakening expected after the center moves inland or meanders near the coast.
So this means that storm surges of from 7 to 13 feet are a very real possibility from Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina and North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
If you wonder what a storm surge would look like, watch the short tweeted video from meteorologist Ryan Davidson for a scary explanation. Wilmington, NC, could see a flood surge of 9 feet. What would that look like?
From southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina - expect rainfall amounts of 20 to 30 inches, isolated 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.
For the remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest Virginia - 6 to 12 inches of rainfall is expected with isolated areas getting 15 inches. This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.
Florence's size is "chilling, even from space"
As he posted awe-inspiring shots of Hurricane Florence, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency wrote that staring down "the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane" is "chilling, even from space."
And the size of the storm is humongous - meaning it is really big. Weather and emergency officials have been warning people to not pay attention to the Category number assigned to the storm or to image maps showing where the eye of the storm is located.
To put it bluntly, the storm is huge, the National Hurricane Center says, and its worst effects will reach "a large area regardless of exactly where the center of Florence moves."
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 kilometers. So to put the storm's size into focus, on Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than South Carolina and North Carolina combined."
More about Hurricane Florence, extreme rainfall, storm surge, Flooding, Space