08 October 2016

Hurricane Matthew rides up the SE U.S. coast

I'm of course still preoccupied with the bad weather along the U.S. southeast coast. All I can do is look at weather sites on the internet (accuweather.com, weather.com, etc.) and try to understand what is happening and what might happen next. My home town, Morehead City (pop. 8,000) in North Carolina, is at the northern end of Matthew's path, they are saying, and therefore is less at risk than other cities and towns. Right now, it's about 1 a.m. over there.


Above is a map I grabbed off weather.com a few minutes ago. You can see the storm sitting off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, between the beautiful old cities of Savannah (metro pop. 375,000) and Charleston (metro pop. 740,000). I hope a lot of people have left those areas and moved westward to get out of the way. For scale, the distance from Savannah to Morehead City is about 400 miles (650 km) — a 6½ hour journey by car.


This is a very low coastline of mudflats, salt marshes, sandy beaches, and wide estuaries. It's called "the low country" in South Carolina. If the winds push water up against it, as they will likely do, the flooding from the storm surge might be disastrous. And that's especially true if the worst of the storm's winds arrive at high tide. Much of Charleston, for example, is at sea level, and the highest points in the town are only 20 feet above sea level. Morehead City is even lower — 0 to 16 feet (5 m) of elevation.


Look at the rainfall totals! Five to fifteen inches of rain (between 125 mm and 400) will fall in just a few hours. Right along the coast, the rain might not be a big problem, but 50 miles inland, where there are hills and valleys and a lot of small and larger rivers, flooding can be catastrophic. Eastern N.C. has already had significant rain and some flooding over the past few weeks.

12 comments:

Joanna said...

It's 9:18 am and the winds are picking up here. I am sitting here watching the trees sway. No rain yet but I'm sure it will get here soon.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Glad to hear from you. I keep looking at radar maps, and it looks like the mass of heavy rain is going upstate, toward Fayetteville and Raleigh. That's not what was forecast.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Fingers crossed.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Joanna is my sister, so I'm especially glad to hear from her.

BettyAnn said...

Ken, ls MA staying in her home or has she gone inland? My thoughts are with her and all my friends in New Bern, NC.

Ken Broadhurst said...

MA won't budge. She's waiting it out. Hope you are well.

Ken Broadhurst said...

They've had 10 inches -- 250 mm -- of rain in Fayetteville, N.C., over the past 14 or 15 hours. One small dam has burst, and several main roads have been closed by high waters or fallen trees. The flooding may continue for a couple of weeks. The Fayetteville area of North Carolina is known as "the sand hills" -- or the water hills at this point.

Ken Broadhurst said...

They've had 10 inches -- 250 mm -- of rain in Fayetteville, N.C., over the past 14 or 15 hours. One small dam has burst, and several main roads have been closed by high waters or fallen trees. The flooding may continue for a couple of weeks. The Fayetteville area of North Carolina is known as "the sand hills" -- or the water hills at this point.

NotesFromAbroad said...

I was terrified because of the tornado warnings that came along tie the Hurricane and those winds.
We had a tornado. No real destruction ... I stayed at my daughters home nearby , not that she could do anything about the storm but at least I would not be blown into the atmosphere with 2 cats and no one to say goodbye to ..
It was loud and scary but felt like a strong summer thunderstorm. Then late in the evening , someone said well, that was that ... and I said what ? It came and went and one tree in the forrest behind me fell.
I worried about the flooding as we had some here before the storms but it has been beautiful and dry and warm today.
I go into a terrible state of panic when these things happen and my heart breaks for people who are dealing with and going through much worse.
Stay safe ~

Ken Broadhurst said...

Glad to have news from you and know you are safe.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Thank you Ken.. and today is gorgeous. Blue blue skies and not too warm .. I can live without another hurricane for a few dozen years :)

Emm said...

I was thinking about your mother, too. I just did a quick look-around on news, and didn't see anything major for her area other than warnings and the usual alarms. The storm was down to a Cat 2 by the time it got there, which helped.
We had heavy rain and not-too-bad winds, maybe 25 knots, west of Greensboro, and now (late Saturday) the rain is stopping, with clearing forecast overnight. That the storm overall stayed a bit more offshore than originally anticipated helped a lot. It's headed off toward Bermuda now, so hopefully it will dissolve at sea.