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Florence to cause flash flooding, major to record river flooding in Carolinas, Western Virginia

by 15 Sep 19:01 PDT
Current Radar, Watches and Warnings (Watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.) ©

Extreme amounts of rain from Florence will continue to hammer the Carolinas and western Virginia through this weekend, triggering flash flooding and river flooding that will exceed major to record levels.

Florence will take an agonizingly slow crawl through the Carolinas this weekend. Because of that slow movement, heavy rainfall is likely to trigger catastrophic flooding in some areas. Put simply, Florence is a "Category 5 flood threat."

River flooding will rival that during Hurricane Matthew (2016) or Hurricane Floyd (1999) in some locations.

As of Saturday morning, Swansboro, North Carolina, had received 30.59 inches of rain. That total, if confirmed, would smash the state record rainfall total from a tropical cyclone in North Carolina of 24.06 inches from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

(More: Florence Sets Preliminary North Carolina State Rain Record)

Final rainfall totals are forecast to be 30 to 40 inches along the North Carolina coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The rest of South Carolina, North Carolina and into southwestern Virginia could see 5 to 10 inches of rain, with localized amounts to 15 inches. Parts of eastern West Virginia and west-central Virginia may see 3 to 6 inches of rain, with isolated totals up to 8 inches.

You don't need rain nearly as heavy as what is being forecast near the coast of the Carolinas to trigger major flash flooding and landslides in the Appalachians, due to the runoff enhancement of terrain.

Flash flood watches have been posted by the National Weather Service in much of South Carolina, North Carolina, southwestern Virginia and far southern West Virginia.

Heavy rain could also spread into parts of West Virginia and the northeastern United States Monday and Tuesday as Florence's remnants track through those areas.

(More: Florence's Remnants Will Bring a Soaking Rain, Possible Flooding to the Northeast)

With such extreme amounts of rain, major to record river flooding is forecast in parts of the Carolinas.

Rivers are already high in some spots in eastern North Carolina as seen in the red and purple dots signifying moderate to major flood stage.

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