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A huge circular cloud formation covering a huge portion of the visible earth as seen from space.
Information icon Hurricane Florence is pictured from the International Space Station as a category 1 storm as it was making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Photo by NASA.

Waters rise as storm crawls

Tropical Storm Florence, no longer a hurricane, continues moving slowly across the Carolinas, dumping historic amounts of rainfall on areas already under water.

After making landfall Friday morning on the North Carolina coast, the storm is now headed toward Columbia, South Carolina, said meteorologist Denver Ingram. He briefed officials Saturday with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), who have been monitoring the storm from the Service’s Atlanta regional offices.

The storm, Ingram said, is moving at about 2 mph. At the same time, it is inundating the landscape with rain. Some areas in eastern North Carolina, he said, are liable to get 15 to 20 inches of rain — and that’s on top of the 25-plus inches that have already fallen.

Its winds are no longer hurricane-force, but occasionally gust to 45 mph.

“The slow motion of this storm is almost the full story” of what is now happening, he said.

The storm isn’t likely to leave the continental United States anytime soon. Forecasters predict it will crawl across South Carolina, into the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina, and then head northeast across West Virginia and Virginia. They anticipate it blowing out to sea sometime Tuesday at New York or Maine.

In its wake, Ingram said, will be fearful amounts of water. The National Weather Service said water will cascade off hillsides, creating mudslides and flash floods in the mountains and piedmonts of the Carolinas. That water eventually will find its way to large rivers, already swollen and flooding as they head toward the ocean.

Those rivers, Ingram said, are predicted to rise as much as 25 feet. The last time coastal rivers reached that height: 1954, when Hurricane Hazel tore into North Carolina.

Contact

Mark Davis, Public Affairs Specialist
mark_r_davis@fws.gov, (404) 679-7291

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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