Our area could get some localized flooding today if heavy rain producing showers and storms cross over us this afternoon and evening. More scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected Wednesday and Thursday. A few of these could produce heavy rainfall resulting in more localized flooding. Hurricane Florence could result in catastrophic flooding rainfall along with strong and gusty winds late this week and into the weekend causing damage to trees and power lines.
Hurricane Florence is packing winds up to 140 mph as a Category 4 storm. It is expected to strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 storm today. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The last time North Carolina was hit with a Category 4 was in 1954 when Hazel arrived bringing 130 mph winds with it.
Current tracking from the National Hurricane Center has Florence making landfall shortly after 2 AM Friday morning up around North Topsail Beach around Sneads Ferry and just south of Camp Lejeune. By Saturday it would be south of Goldsboro and through the early Sunday morning hours, it would travel through the Raleigh, Durham area. As Florence approaches, large swells affecting the coast will result in life-threatening surf and rip currents. Damaging hurricane-force winds are then expected to occur along the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts. These winds could also spread well inland into the Carolinas and here in Virginia along with life-threatening flooding from prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall inland as Florence slows down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.
Your 7-day forecast has us with a 30 to 60 percent chance of rain through the period. Winds will begin to kick up by Thursday and the heaviest rains will arrive on Friday and remain through Saturday night. Showers continue through Monday. High in the 80’s dropping to the upper 70’s as the Hurricane approaches. Lows 66-70.
Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered mandatory evacuations for some parts of Virginia as Hurricane Florence approaches. Coastal Zone A, which contains 245,000 people, is under the evacuation order. Zone A contains parts of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. The evacuations begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Northam has declared a state of emergency for Virginia, to begin preparation of state assets. Also on Monday, Governor Northam requested a federal emergency declaration in advance of the storm, to ensure the availability of federal resources to help Virginia with storm response.