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Florence weakens into depression, heads north

By
UPI Staff
North Carolina tries to return to normal followig Hurricane Florence
Ignacio (L) and Sylvia Bautista hold hands after checking out their property following Hurricane Florence, now tropical depression on Wednesday in Beulaville, N.C. Florence, is continuing to dump rain on North and South Carolina and the Cape Fear River Valley and other rivers will rise breaking record flood levels. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Florence early Sunday weakened into a depression but was forecast to still cause flash flooding and major river flooding over much of the Carolinas.

At 5 am., the National Hurricane Center in a report said Florence had dissipated into a depression and announced it would be the last advisory. The National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center is issuing future advisories.

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The center of the storm made landfall around 7:15 a.m. Friday near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., close to the South Carolina border. Forecasters said Florence hit land with winds of 90 mph -- a Category 1 hurricane -- and slowed a bit in its movement as its outward winds lashed North and South Carolina.

For more than a day Florence was moving about 3 mph per hour. But as winds diminished, it moved quicker across the Carolinas.

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The Prediction Center said Sunday that Florence was moving at 10 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph and was 40 miles west of Columbia, S.C., and 215 miles southwest of Raleigh N.C.

A turn toward the northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected Sunday, followed by a turn toward the north and northeast with an additional increase in forward speed Monday. On the forecast track, Florence's center Sunday will move across the western Carolinas and then recurve over the Ohio Valley and Northeast United States on Monday and Tuesday.

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All watches and warnings have been discontinued. But the Prediction Center said "interests in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence due to the heavy rainfall threat."

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An additional 5 to 10 inches, with storm total accumulations of 15 to 20 inches in western North Carolina, are forecast.

"These rainfall amounts will produce catastrophic flash flooding, prolonged significant river flooding, and an elevated risk for landslides in western North Carolina and far southwest Virginia," the Prediction Center.

In southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina an additional 4 to 6 inches, and isolated 8 inches, is forecast. This rainfall will result in additional flash flooding and also exacerbate the river flooding, the Prediction Center said.

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Storm total accumulations of 30 to 40 inches in southeast North Carolina are forecast.

An observer near Swansboro, N.C., told the NHC more than 30 inches of rain had fallen so far, a record-breaking total surpassing the tropical cyclone record of 24.06 inches for North Carolina set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

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