ELIZABETHTOWN — The Cape Fear River hit flood stage Saturday night in Bladen County as overnight rain persisted past dawn Sunday.
Florence, with Category 1 hurricane strength when it arrived Friday morning at 7:15 near Wrightsville Beach, has finally started to move albeit it at 8 mph as of the 5 a.m. numbers from the National Weather Service. Its 350- to 400-mile swath is expected to continue dumping rain in the county most of the day.
A flash flood warning from the NWS office in Wilmington was in effect until 1:15 p.m. Sunday morning from Red Springs to the coast including all of Bladen County and points to the South Carolina border.
The NWS, in a tweet, said Elizabethtown measured 20.17 inches of rain from the storm as of 6 p.m. Saturday night. The consensus forecast for Bladen County was 10 to 15 inches of rain after 8 p.m. Saturday through the day Tuesday, the bulk of which would be done by Sunday night or Monday morning.
The only rain totals higher that the NWS was reporting at that time were 30.58 inches in Swansboro, 25.77 inches in Hoffman, 23.75 inches in Newport and 23.66 inches in Emerald Isle.
There have been no reported readings from the Elizabethtown airport on the NWS website since the storm made landfall Friday.
Before the storm began, Elizabethtown was forecast for 26 inches of rain and Riegelwood for 30.
Mandatory evacuations near the Cape Fear River in the northern part of the county were made Saturday afternoon. The measurement from the Huske Lock near Tar Heel and the Cumberland County line was 49.45 feet Sunday at 5 a.m., seven feet above flood stage. A crest of more than 65 feet is projected for Tuesday.
In Elizabethtown, the Cape Fear measured 28.62 feet Sunday at 5:45 a.m. Flood stage is 25 feet. The crest there is forecast for Thursday near 38 feet.
And near Kelly, the Cape Fear measured 21.4 feet Sunday at 5:45 a.m. The river was expected to hit flood stage of 24 feet Sunday night.
The Cape Fear River near Kelly is expected to hit flood stage on Sunday evening.
The Cape Fear River at Elizabethtown hit flood stage on Saturday night and is continuing to rise.
The Cape Fear River in the northern part of Bladen County forced mandatory evacuations on Saturday. The river was more than seven feet above flood stage Sunday morning and expected to five to more than 20 feet above it this week.
A flash flood warning is in effect for all of Bladen County through 1:15 Sunday afternoon.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or email@example.com. Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @alanwooten19.