CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tropical Depression Florence is now over the Charlotte area after crawling across the Carolinas as a snail's pace Friday and Saturday. The storm's sustained winds are down to just 35 mph, but heavy rain and flash flooding are threats to the western Carolinas Sunday.
The First Warn Storm Team has a preview of what to expect as the deadly storm moves through Charlotte and into the mountains.
The heaviest rain from Florence moved in around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Some areas east of Charlotte have experienced rainfall rates of two inches per hour.
"There is rainfall all across the entire area," said First Warn forecaster Larry Sprinkle. "Rain, just steady rain will continue and it's going to be that way all day."
Meteorologist Chris Mulcahy expects wind gusts to be in the 30-40 mph range as the Charlotte area remains under a Wind Advisory until Sunday night. Thousands of Duke Energy customers in the Charlotte area are without power as trees fall across the area from the saturated ground and strong wind gusts.
Charlotte is currently expected to have four to seven inches of rain from Florence through Sunday. Some areas east, including Rockingham and farther east on Highway 74 could see up to 10 inches of rainfall.
The heavy rain from Florence will continue to push into the Piedmont of North Carolina and the mountains. Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich says the threat for flash flooding will peak between 7:30 a.m. and about 2 p.m. for the Piedmont. The mountains will be at risk for flash flooding and landslides through Sunday night and into Monday due to the downpours.
Governor Cooper encourages people to avoid travel in the impacted areas this weekend and be aware of flood watches and warnings.