GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – After two days of rain bands extending over Eastern Carolina and waves crashing along the coast, Hurricane Florence finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach five years ago today.
Florence made landfall as a category 1 hurricane, weakening from a category 4 hurricane just four days prior. The drop in wind strength did little to stop the heavy rain from causing widespread flooding across the Piedmont and Coastal Plains.
Rainfall totals ranged from 2 to 4 inches for those near the Northern Outer Banks to 20 to 35 inches for those near the Crystal Coast, making Florence the wettest storm to ever hit North Carolina.
Many swift water rescues were reported through the night of September 13th through the morning of September 15th because of this deluge.
Despite Florence’s weakening winds, the hurricane was still able to produce a record-breaking storm surge of 9 to 13 feet along the coast. High wind speeds over Fort Macon registered at 105 mph after being clocked at 140 mph four days earlier.
The winds knocked thousands of trees down, cutting off power to a huge percentage of North Carolinians for days. Many are still picking up the pieces Florence left behind and those who experienced the storm will likely remember it forever. Coming up tonight, we’ll highlight those impacted and how recovery has come along over the past 5 years.
WITN reporters will be checking in on heavily impacted areas and will share their stories tonight on WITN News starting at 4 p.m.