Tropical Storm Florence has broken rainfall total records in North Carolina and it still has a way to go.
Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service say that as of noon on Saturday, over 30 inches of rain has fallen in Swansboro, N.C. Florence’s 30 inches of rainfall has broken the statewide rainfall record set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 of 24.06 inches.
Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast Friday morning with wind speeds of 195 mph. As of Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Florence to a tropical storm with maximum wind speeds of 45 mph and said heavy rains and catastrophic flooding will continue across portions of North and South Carolina.
NHC said wind speeds are expected to continue to slow down during the weekend but rainfall will increase in certain areas. The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings all across the Carolinas, including Moore County and Lee County. NWS warns residents living in areas with flash flood warnings to avoid roads.
“Turn around,” the advisory said. “Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Stay away or be swept away. River banks and culverts can become unstable and unsafe. Flash flooding is extremely dangerous. If you are experiencing flooding or live in a flood prone area, move to higher ground.”
According to a 2014 study from the American Meteorological Society, storm surge and rain are the cause of 76% of direct deaths from hurricanes. The study found that from 1963 to 2012 90% of deaths occurred in water related incidents, mostly drowning.