Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning as a category 1 storm and was slowly inching its way inland. But it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that the Triangle began to feel its effects.
Much of the Triangle began Friday experiencing little more than gusty winds, rain and occasional power outages, and some were left wondering when — or if — the “biblical flooding” and devastating wind will reach the center of the state.
People across the Triangle turned to social media early Friday asking “Is this it?” “Will it get worse?” “Is it over?”
“Catastrophic flash and eventually river flooding remains the primary concern as Florence continues to drift inland slowly across central (North Carolina),” the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office tweeted Friday afternoon.
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The danger began in the Triangle area Friday around 3 p.m.
High 55 closed in Apex
N.C. Highway 55 in Apex shut down because of flooding Friday afternoon, according to police, between Salem and Hughes streets.
Johnston County residents evacuate
Johnston County said it could received 1 to 1.5 inches of rain per hour “for the next several hours” for an additional 8 to 8.5 inches of rain. The county asked that people in low-lying or flood-prone areas “seek higher ground immediately.”
A shelter was open at Clayton High School at 600 S. Fayetteville Street, Clayton in Johnston County. You can bring your pets to the shelter, but they will be taken to the Johnston County Animal Shelter “for safe keeping” during your stay, the county said in a news release on Friday.
The National Hurricane Center’s latest 5-day rainfall map as of Friday morning showed 6 to 10 inches of rain for the Triangle area, with localized heavier amounts.
When will the Triangle see the worst of it?
This afternoon, ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said.
Schwenneker puts the Triangle estimates at 5 to 10 inches through Tuesday, with the northern parts of the Triangle in the 3 to 5 inch range and southern areas getting up to 9 or 10 inches.
Flash flood watches will likely remain in place for the Triangle “all the way through Sunday,” Schwenneker said, and “life-threatening flash flooding is likely,” the NWS said.
The Triangle still has a good possibility of seeing 50 mph or higher winds. Schwenneker said RDU had already seen 40 mph gusts Friday morning. Parts of the area, he said, could go over 70 mph.
“Between 3 and 8 p.m. — that’s when we’ll really see the winds topping out,” Schwenneker said.
Parts of the Triangle were under flash flood watches, tropical storm warnings and tornadoes had been spotted as close as Rocky Mount, the NWS said.
The storm was about 130 miles south-southeast of Raleigh as of 11:20 a.m. Friday, the NWS said.
The southern areas of central North Carolina could see more than 20 inches of rain.
“A prolonged period of extremely heavy rainfall, particularly across the Sandhills and southern portions of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, will last into the weekend. Total rainfall amounts of 10 to 20 inches are likely,with amounts over 20 inches possible over far southern sections,” the NWS said Friday.
One of the biggest threats will be “prolonged river flooding, especially across the Cape Fear, Neuse and Black river basins,” the NWS said.
Much of the central part of the state can expect damaging wind that will cause damage to trees and power lines, adding to the growing number of outages across the state, according to the NWS.