Threat to coast from Florence could be a three-day deluge

By on September 9, 2018

Storm swells this morning at Nags Head Fishing Pier. (Pat Morris)

With 90 mph maximum sustained winds Sunday night, Hurricane Florence continued to head for the Carolina coast and is expected to strengthen much more in the next few days.

At 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center reoported that the storm was 685 miles southeast of Bermuda and heading west at 9 mph.

The concern now is that Florence will linger on the coast for two or three days, raising the specter of 20 inches or more of rain.

“Regardless of the exact track and intensity, it is clear that Dare County is going to feel the effects of a major hurricane, ” said Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson.

“Take precautions now and assemble or restock your disaster supply kit with essentials to sustain your family and your pets for three to five days. Have your evacuation plan ready to execute.”

The Hurricane Center’s update at 11 p.m. Sunday showed the storm on the same steady track toward the border of the Carolinas, a scenario familiar to coastal residents who are starting to pay more attention to the development of the system.

Within a few days, the storm is likely to mushroom into at least a Category 3 with maximum winds of 115 mph or more, according to the Hurricane Center.

The strongest winds of hurricanes are generally in a relatively small area near the center, while heavy rain, squalls and gusts expand outward, sometimes several hundred miles. On Sunday, hurricane-force winds extended up to 15 miles from Florence’s center and tropical storm force of at least 34 mph, up to 115 miles.

Rain and storm surge are almost always much bigger problems along the coast.

Clouds, rain and steady breezes will probably start arriving here on Wednesday with landfall, if it happens, by the weekend.

Big swells started rolling onto the Outer Banks over the weekend to the delight of surfers, but swimmers and waders were being warned to stay out of the water, where rip currents and pounding shorebreaks have become deadly.

Cloud cover and chances of rain today are not from Florence but the remnants of Gordon, which hit the Gulf Coast last week.

The Hurricane Center was hedging its bets but seemed certain that heavy rain and at least tropical storm force winds are probable for the Carolina coast. The latest forecast shows the possibility of 7 to 10 inches on the Outer Banks and northeastern North Carolina areas.

Chances of tropical storm winds were put at around 70 percent.

Swells rolling onto the beach at Nags Head Fishing Pier Sunday. (Pat Morris)

Surfers found action at Nags Head pier Saturday. (Rob Morris)

Where Florence ends up depends on what happens with several weather systems steering the storm. At five days, projected paths can vary by 200 miles.

“There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland,” the Hurricane Center noted on its website.

“While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of
Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials.”

Prospects are increasing that the storm could slow down or stall when it reaches the coast and dump huge amounts of rain over a period of three days.

Even though it is still not clear the system will even directly affect  North Carolina, a declaration issued Friday by Gov. Roy Cooper that allows farmers to more easily transport crops has sparked panic among some vacationers.

Several local hotels say they have had cancellations of stays that would have ended as soon as Tuesday, with callers citing the “state of emergency” that is currently nothing more than an administartive procedure that waives some trucking restrictions and allows the implementation of emergency plans statewide.

But surfers from around the country are already flocking to the Outer Banks in anticipation of a big, glassy south swell. And most week-long vacationers were still arriving in droves on Saturday and Sunday.

“With the growing probability that Hyde County will receive direct impacts from Florence, non-resident property owners should consider capitalizing on the rest of this weekend through Monday and use it as an opportunity to secure their properties ahead of the storm,” said Hyde County Public Information Officer Donnie Shumate.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday after running into unfavorable atmospheric conditions. But Saturday at 5 p.m., top winds were around 70 mph, just short of the hurricane threshold of 74 mph.

Visitors will be given plenty of advance notice by Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties about what to do. The Voice will be providing regular updates.

Dare Emergency Management has been receiving calls regarding reentry procedures and reminds non-resident property owners that permits with an April 1, 2018 expiration date remain valid through Dec. 30. Permanent residents use a valid driver’s license with a Dare County address for reentry.

A current tax bill or parcel data sheet with matching current government issued ID will also suffice. To review guidelines, visit

Those who have special medical needs and may need assistance during an emergency can call the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Social Services Division at 252.475.5500 to register for the Special Medical Needs registry. For more information, visit






ADVERTISEMENT FOR RE-BID: Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for the Kill Devil Hills – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-1) project on Wednesday, February 08, 2023 @ 2:00pm for the following packages:

BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 833 – Overhead Doors, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical

Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: Wednesday, February 08, 2023 at 2:00pm.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the training room and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare County – Kill Devil Hills EMS #01 / FS #14 – 2 PM Re-Bid Opening

Time: Feb 8, 2023 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 874 0991 8806

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  • Steve

    should be fun!

    Sunday, Sep 9 @ 12:52 pm
  • Jon

    We could use some rain..

    Monday, Sep 10 @ 6:44 am
  • Nick Harker

    I have a trip planned for Wednesday to Sunday and we only get our money back if there is a mandatory evacuation. Is there a timeline for officially requiring people to leave? Or am I going to lose out on money and a vacation?

    Monday, Sep 10 @ 8:29 am
  • Dylan

    Dare county has just issued mandatory evacuations beginning today for Hatteras Island and rest of Dare county beginning tomorrow at 7:00 am.

    Monday, Sep 10 @ 10:32 am
  • Margaret

    Why hasnt Hyde County ordered evacuation? We cant prep our rental cottages with tourists still in them. Think they should have started 7am sunday morning and have them all gone by last ferry monday, so we can still get out of here if we choose.

    Monday, Sep 10 @ 11:44 am