Sept. 12, 8 p.m.

Six-hour rainfall

Cumulative rainfall since
Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12, 8 p.m.

Six-hour rainfall

Cumulative rainfall since
Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Florence has dropped 30 inches of rain, shattering the record of 24 inches set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and is expected to continue pouring down rain, perhaps 15 more inches.

Flooding from both the storm surge and rainfall could be “catastrophic,” the National Hurricane Center warned.

[ What Hurricane Florence looks and sounds like as it makes landfall ]

Walls of water surging on the coast

The biggest surge occurred to the north of where the eye of the storm came ashore near Wilmington, N.C.

1 foot above normal tide Data as of 2018-09-17 11:06

1Oregon Inlet Marina

2USCG Station Hatteras

3Beaufort, Duke Marine Lab

4Wrightsville Beach

5Springmaid Pier

6Oyster Landing (N Inlet Estuary)

Because of counterclockwise circulation around the eye, wind speed and surge height tend to be greater to the right of the storm track. Meanwhile, ocean water was sucked out of areas farther north and south.

Climate change also contributes to sea surge. In the case of Florence and the Carolinas, some six inches of the coming storm surge may be attributable to climate change, as sea levels have risen in the last 100 years or so.

Rivers jumping their banks

Flood gauges show water levels rising steadily across the region, as the storm is moving inland.

Each dot represents a flood observation gauge
Feet above flood level recorded     
Data as of

Flood waters from Florence inundate the town of Engelhard, N.C. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

Residents help an elderly man evacuate a flooding trailer community in Lumberton, N.C. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

About this story

Observed precipitation and flood gauge data from the National Weather Service. Observed and predicted tidal data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Originally published Sept. 14, 2018.


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