TAR HEEL — For the first time since Hurricane Florence’s arrival last Friday, the level of the Cape Fear River at the W.O. Huske Lock has dropped.
In measurements available through the National Weather Service, the river was at 70.46 feet at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday. It was rising at 70.45 feet 15 minutes prior to that, and was at 70.38 feet 15 minutes after that peak.
The forecast on the river still called for 70.8 feet later in the afternoon before beginning to go down.
The record high at the Huske lock is 75.5 feet in 1945. When Hurricane Matthew came through in October 2016, the high reading was 68.46 feet on Oct. 10.
Downstream at Elizabethtown, the river continued to rise. The 12:45 p.m. reading was 41.19 feet, up 2/100 from 15 minutes earlier. The river is still forecast for a crest there of 41.5 feet Thursday.
The record high at the Elizabethtown measuring point is 43.2 feet in 1945. When Matthew hit the area, what was the fourth-highest mark of 36.44 was established.
In morning readings, the Huske measured 70.22 feet at 9 a.m. and Elizabethtown was at 40.91 feet at 8:45 a.m.
The National Weather Service said, through 2 p.m. Monday, the preliminary rainfall total for Elizabethtown was 35.93 inches. That’s the most of any community on its list of measurements. Swansboro was next with 34 inches.
The NWS office in Wilmington released more localized totals Wednesday morning, showing Elizabethtown at 35.93 inches, Turnbull Creek-Bladen Lakes at 23.67 inches and the Cape Fear River Lock and Dam No. 1 at 22.21 inches.
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