Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Hurricane Florence Batters the East Coast

According to the the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Florence is a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and is expected to remain a hurricane throughout the day as it moves further inland. The NHC anticipates that the storm will continue to slow as it moves westward and has cautioned that the storm brings catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge that will linger long into the weekend and early next week. The storm has knocked out power for over 600,000 customers in North Carolina and over 70,000 customers South Carolina as of the time of this post, with the numbers expected to continue climbing. The National Weather Service cautions that “this storm will be a marathon versus a sprint.”

Map: NOAA’s National Weather Service, Posted via Twitter on 9/14/18

With the NHC reporting storm surges potentially reaching as high as 11 feet and rainfall predicted to reach up to 40 inches in some areas, flood waters pose a very serious threat for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) caution the dangers and hazards posed by both moving and standing flood waters.


Here’s the latest list of public advisories from the NHC’s 2:00 PM EDT, September 14, 2018 update:

  • Storm Surge Warning in effect for the following:
    • South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
    • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
  • Storm Surge Watch in effect for the following:
    • Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
  • Hurricane Warning in effect for the following:
    • South Santee River South Carolina to Bogue Inlet North Carolina
    • Pamlico Sound
  • Hurricane Watch in effect for the following:
    • Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
  • Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the following:
    • Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
    • Bogue Inlet North Carolina to Duck North Carolina
    • Albemarle Sound


Per the NHC’s 2:00 pm EDT update, below is a list of hazards affecting land as a result of the ongoing storm:

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground…

  • Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC…7-11 ft, with locally higher amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers
  • Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC…6-9 ft
  • South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC…4-6 ft
  • Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC…4-6 ft
  • Salvo NC to Duck NC…2-4 ft
  • Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC…2-4 ft

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas:

  • Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina…an additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated storm totals of 30 to 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.
  • Remainder of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest Virginia: 5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches. This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.
  • Rainfall totals exceeding 14 inches thus far have been reported at several locations across southeastern North Carolina.

TORNADOES:  A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina today.

SURF:  Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Hagerty will continue to monitor Florence’s movements and provide critical updates on Disaster Discourse. If you are in an area impacted by the storm, please remain safe and heed guidance from your state and local officials.

Below is a list of information resources to be prepared for hurricanes and hazardous weather:

Hagerty Consulting is an emergency management consulting firm that helps clients prepare for and recover from disasters. Established in 2001, Hagerty’s work includes some of the nation’s largest recovery and preparedness projects in more than 30 states, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy. The firm is (and has been) consistently recognized throughout the industry for its innovative thinking, client-centric service, and the superior results it delivers to every project. Hagerty professionals reside in all 10 FEMA regions; the firm’s offices are in Evanston, Illinois (corporate headquarters); Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C. Learn more about how our Recovery and Preparedness Divisions can help you this hurricane season.