It looks like North Carolina has been spared a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane, but Florence's slow speed and 100+ mile zone of tropical storm force winds promise to do tremendous damage to our coastal communities. As it moves inland, the rain projections for Eastern North Carolina are staggering, and sure to cause flooding equal to or greater than that caused by Matthew, just two years ago. Over the weekend, Florence will bring days of wind and heavy rain to every region of our state, including Charlotte.
We should expect 8 - 10 inches of rain or more in a two day period, which is more than enough water to cause localized flooding in and around the city. Also, the consistent high winds will damage our tree canopy, felling limbs and trees, and cutting power for many neighborhoods. If your neighborhood regularly loses power in thunderstorms, you could be looking at 2-5 days without power, and everyone should expect to lose power at some point this weekend.
Here in our district, you should pay close attention to any Flash Flood or Tornado Warnings that are issued. Flash flooding, especially, could be a widespread danger, with Little Sugar Creek, Steele Creek, and McAlpine Creek all prone to flooding in heavy rain events. Whatever you do, NEVER DRIVE THROUGH STANDING (OR RUNNING) WATER. Turn around. Don’t drown.
I encourage everyone to be safe, and will be back in touch next week with information on how we can all help our neighbors recover from this latest disaster.