by Will Racke
Tropical storm Florence easily surpassed North Carolina’s state rainfall record on Saturday and showed no sign of letting up as it drifted inland from the coast.
The National Weather Service office in Moorehead City, North Carolina reported that 25.77 inches of rain has fallen at its Hoffman Remote Operated Weather Station, according to ABC11 News in Raleigh-Durham. That total breaks the previous state record of 24.06 inches set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Elsewhere, a nationwide nonprofit volunteer network of weather observers reported a storm total of 30.58 inches in Swansboro, North Carolina, through Saturday morning. That measurement has yet to be officially confirmed, but it would be in line with predictions of between 30 and 40 inches in the most heavily affected areas.
Florence, which made landfall on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, is the third tropical storm system to set a state rainfall record in the past 13 months. The other two were Harvey in Texas in August 2017 and Lane in Hawaii in late August of this year. Harvey set the all-time U.S. tropical cyclone rainfall record, dumping more than 60 inches of rain near Nederland, Texas.
The 400-mile-wide Florence continued to dump dangerous amounts of rain as it plodded north and west over the Carolinas on Saturday.
“Catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged river flooding” are expected to continue in the storm’s path through the weekend and into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Earlier Saturday, President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina that authorizes federal relief funding for people in eight counties. Trump is expected to tour the region “early next week” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday.
The death toll attributed to Florence stood at seven as of Saturday afternoon — six in North Carolina and one in South Carolina, according to state authorities.
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