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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The history of hurricanes in our country is highlighted with names we all remember. Carla, Hugo, Matthew, Andrew, Donna, Irma, Harvey and Maria to name a few.
Now, here comes Florence.
Florence is notable for its incredible size and its very slow speed. The slow pace of Florence cannot be understated. The slower it is, the more devastating says NWS Meteorologist Fred McMullen.
“When it comes on shore it moves at the pace of a turtle. It will take forever for it to move inland into the central parts of South Carolina,” he said.
Unlike Hurricane Hugo, that hit in the evening and was gone by morning, Florence will be around a while.
McMullen says, “You’ll get 24-36 hours period of excess rainfall, Category 1 or 2 force winds, and then you’ll get constant storm surge with water being piled onto the land from the Atlantic Ocean.”
The storm clouds stretch along a thousand miles of U.S. coastline with the center mass of the storm about twice the size of Pennsylvania. Florence is packing a punch and at its current speed, it will be punching everything in sight for hours.
“It’s going to take 24 hours to go 60 miles,” McMullen says, “and with that slow forward speed we’re looking at rain rates 2-4 inches an hour.”
That will be in addition to a storm surge that could reach nine feet. Well deep enough to cover some homes.
“So, potentially in this area of Southeastern North Carolina, we’re looking at the highest rainfall from a hurricane on record. Which could also set the daily one or two-day maximum. We’re forecasting 30 inches of rainfall,” McMullen said.
He expects Carolina flooding and the dry out period will last several weeks.
McMullen says high-pressure systems to the west and north are keeping Florence from picking up speed and moving off to the west quickly once it hits land. While the forecast continues to stretch out Florence’s time in the Carolinas eventually it will come west then north and arrive in the Pittsburgh region by Tuesday.
McMullen says it will be like an average rainstorm when it arrives in our area. He predicts one to two inches of rain before Florence heads off to the history books.