As Hurricane Florence approaches landfall, it has lost some of its viciousness. Although downgraded to a Category Two hurricane from Category Four, with winds currently hitting 110mph (175km/h), Florence could still prove disastrous.
Tracking to hit the mainland near the border of South and North Carolina on Friday morning, the storm is slowing as it approaches the coastline. This means it could linger longer, resulting in higher rainfall in the region – conditions similar to when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August last year. Hurricane Harvey ended up causing an estimated $125 billion in damage, much of it caused by disastrous flash and river flooding after the storm dropped a year of rain in one week.
"Harvey was also weakening as it approached the mainland," observes Andrew Higgins of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. "With Florence displaying similar behavior, rainfall of up to 30 inches can be expected in coastal areas of North Carolina with isolated areas receiving as much as 40 inches."
Higgins, a Senior Regional Technical & Expertise Manager in Allianz Risk Consulting in North Carolina, says rainfall in South Carolina is expected to range from 5 to 10 inches with some areas receiving up to 20 inches. He also cautions that dangerous storm surges are expected along the coastline ranging up to 9 to 13 feet.