Updated at 2:30 PM Thursday Hurricane Florence Update
This map may be in error since it was created BEFORE the latest update. The timeline may now be a bit slower in developing and the track of the storm may take it south of Columbia (slightly) and further west before turning northward.
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
At 2 PM Thursday, Hurricane Florence was located just over 100 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC. It's still tracking west-northwestward and will likely make landfall near the NC-SC border and then linger a bit before moving southwestward.
Once it makes landfall, it will quickly diminish to a category 1 hurricane, but it will still be a very dangerous storm. The latest projected track of Florence has the storm moving across South Carolina much further south than what had previously been predicted. The newest model has it hitting Columbia as a tropical storm on Sunday. After that, it will continue westward as far west as the far northeastern area of Georgia before reaching the southwestern mountains of North Carolina around midday on Monday.
With the storm now expected to pass much further to our south, it's now unlikely that we'll get any hurricane force winds, but we'll still have some gusty winds at times, especially on Saturday, Saturday night and early Sunday, and we'll get a significant amount of rain. Earlier predictions of 8-10 inches may be a little high given the new track; however, a lot of rain will fall--the predicted amounts for our area range from 3-8 inches depending on which model you choose--and when it hits the mountains, it will cause significant downpours. From Asheville to West Jefferson, rainfall amounts of 8-12 inches appear likely.
Given that the rainfall, even if it's only 3-4 inches, will happen in a short span of time, we still could see some flooding on smaller streams, and the heavy downpour expected into Monday in the North Carolina mountains and northern foothills could make it difficult for the smaller lakes on the Catawba River to handle the extra water as it comes downstream. Allowing it to flow could create some flooding along the river/lakes in some areas.
Along the coast, the southeastern area of NC will not only have a storm surge of 9-13 feet from Wilmington to Morehead City, a large area of the southeastern part of NC will get 30 inches or more of rainfall. Catastrophic flooding is expected and those who have chosen to try to ride at the storm at places like Carolina Beach may find themselves quite literally underwater.
For us, there is a risk of tornado development, especially late Saturday night into early Sunday. We haven't totally 'dodged the bullet,' but we appear now not likely to take anything close to a direct hit.
As for rainfall amounts, the prediction that we favor now (among the various models) indicates that we'll have about a half inch of rain on Saturday and a little less than that Saturday night, then two more inches on Sunday, another half inch on Sunday night, and another two inches on Monday.
By now, we feel sure that most people know about the Apple Festival being postponed and high school football games being moved up to avoid the storm. Here's the latest on cancellations/postponements/etc.:
The Lincoln County Apple Festival has been postponed until October 27th.
The Band Preview Program that had been scheduled for Saturday night at LHS Stadium has been cancelled.
The Rotary Club sponsored Apple Festival Road Race will now be held on October 27th. Those who registered for the event this week need not re-register--you're already registered for Oct. 27th. Others who may want to participate now have another month to register.
The Lincoln County Library's annual Book Sale at the James W. Warren Citizens Center will still take place this weekend (Thursday 6-8 for members of Friends of the Library only, Friday 2-8 and Saturday 9-4). That may change if the storm becomes severe; if it does, we'll post an update.
The Cleveland-Lincoln County Rose Society Rose Exhibition at First Wesleyan Church in Lincolnton that had been scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled.
Some other area events including the play "Into the Woods, Jr." at the Cultural Center won't be affected by the storm and will go on as scheduled.
Many high school football games have been rescheduled.
The latest information has:
JUNIOR VARSITY FOOTBALL
Cherryville @ Mountain Island Charter, 6:30 PM Thursday
THURSDAY 7 PM East Burke @ West Lincoln Bessemer City @ North Lincoln Hibriten @ Newton-Conover South Point @ Stuart Cramer West Wilkes @ Bunker Hill
THURSDAY 7:30 PM East Gaston @ East Lincoln Burns @ Hendersonville
FRIDAY 7:30 PM (unless changed) Kings Mountain @ Shelby Ashbrook @ Clover Calhoun Falls, SC @ Thomas Jefferson Union Academy @ Pine Lake Prep
Lincolnton, Maiden, Cherryville, Hunter Huss, Forestview, Lake Norman Charter, and Mountain Island Charter all have this week off.
Some games were moved up to Wednesday:
Wednesday JV scores:
West Lincoln JVs 33, East Burke JVs 0 East Gaston JVs 27, East Lincoln JVs 7
Wednesday Varsity scores:
Fred T. Foard 38, St. Stephens 22 Hickory 28, Bandys 27 Weddington 31, Crest 21 Highland Tech 50, Christ the King 6
College football changes:
The Boston College at Wake Forest college football game scheduled for Thursday has been moved up two hours and will now start at 5:30 PM.
The Central Florida at North Carolina which had been schedule for noon Saturday has been canceled. The game between the Tar Heels and Golden Knights may be played at a later date this season, but that isn't certain.
The West Virginia at NC State game scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 has also been canceled.
The Southern Mississippi at Appalachian State game scheduled for Saturday in Boone has been cancelled.
The Western Carolina at Gardner-Webb game will be played at 6 PM Friday.
The Old Dominion at Charlotte game will be played at 4 PM Thursday.
The Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting at the new building for Energy United that had been scheduled for Friday has been rescheduled for Friday September 28th.
North Carolina Zoo at Asheboro closed the rest of the week.
Gardner-Webb University has cancelled classes for the rest of the week after Wednesday.
UNC-Charlotte cancelled classes for the rest of the week after 5 PM Wednesday.
Belmont Abbey cancelled classes for the rest of the week.
FYI: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced Wednesday afternoon they would not have classes Thursday or Friday; however, none of the school systems in our area (Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba & Cleveland counties) have changed their schedules to anything different than the normal schedule for classes. Sports events are the only thing changed for those schools. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg decision was so that some of the schools there could be used for emergency shelters.
While Douglas International Airport at Charlotte remains operational, there may be some cancelled flights because of the weather in other cities.
If there are other updates on schedules, cancellations, etc. we'll post them when they are made available. If your school, club, church or business cancels an event or reschedules due to Hurricane Florence, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll pass along the information.
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