Thursday, 13 September 2018 18:15

Richmond County Under Tropical Storm Warning, Flash Flood Watch

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Hitchcock Creek flows just inches below the first bridge at the Steele Street Greenway on Thursday prior to Hurricane Florence. The National Weather Service predicts 8-12 inches of rainfall in Richmond County. Hitchcock Creek flows just inches below the first bridge at the Steele Street Greenway on Thursday prior to Hurricane Florence. The National Weather Service predicts 8-12 inches of rainfall in Richmond County. William R. Toler

As the early clouds from Hurricane Florence pass overhead, the National Weather Service has Richmond County under several watches and warnings.

A tropical storm warning is in effect with the potential for winds to reach up to 73 mph in the coming days. 

Those strong winds could damage roofing and siding, porches, awnings and carports. Mobile homes not properly tied down could also be flipped over and other items not secured could turn into projectiles.

With the rain the area received in the days leading up to Florence’s arrival, in addition to the showers associated with the tropical system, the heavy winds could also uproot or snap large trees — which could, in turn, lead to impassable roads and power outages.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Duke Energy Progress estimated that 1-3 million customers could be without power as a result of the hurricane.

"With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days,” said Howard Fowler, Duke Energy’s incident commander.

By 3 p.m. Thursday, the company reported multiple power outages in the coastal counties.

The county is also under a flash flood watch until 8 p.m. Sunday. It was extended 24 hours just before 5:30 Thursday afternoon.

The NWS predicts 8-12 inches of rainfall over the next three days which could cause the county’s creeks to overflow their banks.

During Tuesday’s Rockingham City Council meeting, residents were urged to stay off Hitchcock Creek during the storm.

Travel is expected to be hazardous Friday through Saturday night due to flooded roads.

In 2016, rains from Hurricane Matthew flooded the Steele Street Greenway, a section of East Broad Avenue and various side streets, and causing a sinkhole on Long Drive.

As a comparison, records show the county received less than 5 inches of rain from that storm.

Last modified on Thursday, 13 September 2018 18:26