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Flooding from Hurricane Florence broke nearly 30 records across the Carolinas

Record rainfall fell with the slow moving storm

People look on at the the Cape Fear River on Sept. 18, 2018, as it crests from the rains caused by Hurricane Florence as it passed throughFayetteville, North Carolina
People look on at the the Cape Fear River on Sept. 18, 2018, as it crests from the rains caused by Hurricane Florence as it passed throughFayetteville, North Carolina (2018 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolina coastline as a Category 1 Hurricane on September 14th of 2018. Once Florence made landfall, the storms slowed to a crawl, with forward motion averaging around 2 to 3 mph. The slow moving system made for record breaking rainfall and flooding in both North and South Carolina. 

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Looking at 84 different U.S. Geological Survey streamflow gaging stations in the Carolinas, 28 of those sites measured record high flooding levels. 18 of those record breaking sites were in North Carolina and 10 of the sites were in South Carolina. 49 of the 84 sites measured flooding levels that ranked in the top 5 highest levels recorded for that particular site. 

Rainfall records were also set by Hurricane Florence's slow moving bands of rain. 

  • A new record rainfall total of 35.93 inches was set in Elizabethtown, N.C.
  • Many other locations throughout North Carolina set new records for rainfall, exceeding the previous State record for rainfall from a tropical system of 24.06 inches, which was set over a 4-day period in Southport, N.C., during Hurricane Floyd in 1999
  • In South Carolina, the highest reported total rainfall of 23.63 inches was in Loris, S.C., which was the highest total rainfall in South Carolina from a tropical cyclone, replacing the previous total of 17.45 inches associated with Tropical Storm Beryl in 1994
  • During the October 2015 flood in South Carolina, a 4-day total rainfall of 26.88 inches was recorded in Mount Pleasant; however, because that total rainfall was a combination of a tropical storm system and another front that was centered over the State, it is not considered the largest rainfall event from a tropical storm.

If you'd like to read the USGS report in it's entirety, click here to open  the Preliminary peak stage and streamflow data for selected U.S. Geological Survey streamgaging stations in North and South Carolina for flooding following Hurricane Florence, September 2018 report.


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