Hurricane Florence is projected to dump epic flooding rains as it approaches the coast, with some amounts of 2-4 feet of rain possible before the storm wraps up. Considering it takes just 2-3″ to create major flood problems for many in this region, having massive amounts of rain many times greater creates a multitude of problems.
Most of the rain will fall in southeast North Carolina, submerging towns such as Wilmington, NC under heavy fresh water floods. In addition to these rainfall amounts, the coast could also see storm surge flooding in excess of 9 feet.
With such extreme fresh water flooding expected, there will be significant destruction of infrastructure. Dams will fail while roads and bridges, including major highways, could wash away. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew created flooding problems along I-95 in which parts of the famed highway were flooded and washed away; more of the same can be expected from Florence. While residents should evacuate areas prone to flooding, those even on high ground should make plans to get out or to prepare to be stranded should flood waters wipe out access to their area.
The heaviest rain should fall late Thursday into early Saturday. Depending on the exact track Florence takes and the speed at which it travel, the flood threat could persist and/or worsen over time.