The term “hurricane” will be a memory, and Florence will be considerably weakened by the time it reaches the Laurens County area.
The storm roared ashore at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., at about 7:30 a.m. on Friday and dawdled, pounding the coast and leaving a record-high water level in Beaufort (N.C.). Losing force, Florence moved slowly southwest along the coast, where it was expected to come ashore again near Myrtle Beach on Friday night.
According to Weather Underground, Florence may wind up leaving 40 inches of rain in coastal areas of North Carolina by Sunday night.
It is predicted to accelerate into central South Carolina by Saturday night, and its greatest impact on the county is likely to occur overnight through early Sunday morning. The latest forecast anticipates winds of 25-35 mph and a precipitation likelihood of 3-7 inches, depending on the storm’s path. It will then climb into the high terrain of the Appalachians on Sunday afternoon as a tropical storm and then into advance into either the Ohio River Valley or New England during the week, continuing to drop heavy rain along the way.
The weakened status of the storm should dissuade local citizens from venturing out this weekend. Flash flooding is likely, as are some electrical outages, not to mention electrical storms and possible tornadoes.
Gov. Henry McMaster said on Friday that the slow progress of Florence spells major trouble for low-lying areas, particularly in the Pee Dee region.
“The winds and rain are here, but after that comes the flooding,” the governor said from the West Columbia emergency operations center.
While Florence hit the coast as a Category 1 hurricane – Category 4 had been predicted a day earlier – it could wind up being the largest rainfall producer of any East Coast hurricane on record.
As of Friday afternoon, parts of eastern North Carolina had recorded 12-20 inches. The enormous size of the storm and its path across land that was already saturated contributed mightily to the rainfall amounts and flooding.