River levels in Bladen County are forecast to hit flood stage before midnight and are being monitored by Bladen County’s Emergency Management Department in the aftermath of a close pass from Hurricane Florence.
The storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm and remains almost stationary in South Carolina, less than 50 miles from Myrtle Beach.
Officials are monitoring the South, Black and Cape Fear rivers. The Cape Fear was originally forecast to hit flood stage near the Cumberland County line and in Elizabethtown on Sunday about dawn; those times are now likely before midnight Saturday.
On the Cape Fear River at noon, the mark at the Huske lock near Tar Heel was 38.38 feet. Flood stage is 42 feet. The crest is expected Tuesday around 65 feet, which would be the third-highest total on record and within three feet of Matthew on Oct. 10, 2016.
The Cape Fear at Elizabethtown was at 19.19 feet at 12:45 p.m., less than six feet from flood stage. It is now expected to pass 25 feet well before midnight. The crest could be at or near 37 feet on Wednesday, which would be the fourth-highest mark on records that date back more than 100 years.
At the lock near Kelly, the rain guage showed 4.89 inches in the last 24 hours, including more than 2 inches in a six-hour period overnight. The river level was less than 17 feet before the storm got near, but was at 18.7 about 11:45 a.m. Flood stage is 24 feet and that mark was expected to be eclipsed Sunday morning on the way to a crest of nearly 30 feet early Tuesday.
At noon Saturday, the Black River near N.C. 210 — just over the Pender County line — was at 4.6 feet and had received more than 2 inches of rain the last 24 hours, according to the Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network. Almost an inch of that rain had falled in the last 12 hours.
The river there is considered normal under 4.5 feet. At 10.5 feet it would be considered minor flooding. The river was at 0.7 feet about 10 a.m. Friday morning, and at 1.5 feet about 2 p.m. when Florence was considered peaking in Bladen County.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or email@example.com.