Florence ef­fect ex­pected Monday

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — Hur­ri­cane Florence has been down­graded from a Cat­e­gory 4 storm to a Cat­e­gory 2, but wind and rain from the sys­tem still will af­fect the Mid-Shore early next week.

The pre­dicted path of the storm has changed, shift­ing north af­ter mak­ing land­fall in the Caroli­nas. As the hur­ri­cane moves in­land, it is ex­pected to lose in­ten­sity. Winds are pre­dicted to ex­tend out 195 miles from the cen­ter of the storm.

As of noon Thurs­day, the eye of the hur­ri­cane was less than 150 miles from Wilm­ing­ton, N.C.

Tal­bot County res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to con­tinue mon­i­tor­ing the storm and can stay up to date by regis­ter­ing for the Tal­bot Cit­i­zen Alert at www.tal­bot­des.org to re­ceive im­por­tant weather and safety in­for­ma­tion.

“The cur­rent storm track is pre­dict­ing that the eye of the storm will re­main on the coast for 24 hours, which will cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age and cat­a­strophic flood­ing to the Caroli­nas,” Tal­bot County Emer­gency Man­age­ment Co­or­di­na­tor Geneva Har­ri­son said. “Tal­bot County still has po­ten­tial to see mi­nor ti­dal flood­ing due to high tides and added rain­fall Thurs­day evening into the week­end.”

Resid­ual rain and strong winds from Hur­ri­cane Florence are ex­pected to af­fect the Mid-Shore by Monday. Wind speeds are pre­dicted at 15 mph, and rain is ex­pected un­til Tues­day.

Ground sat­u­ra­tion also is an area of con­cern for emer­gency ser­vices staff, as the Mid-Shore has ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant ti­dal flood­ing as Hur­ri­cane Florence ap­proaches the coast. Caro­line County Emer­gency Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Bryan Ebling said over-sat­u­rated ar­eas were at risk for dam­age.

“Given our al­ready sat­u­rated soils, pro­longed rain and higher winds could cause downed trees and power out­ages,” he said. “This would also pro­duce the chance of ti­dal and fresh­wa­ter flood­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice, soil mois­ture in the Mid-Shore reached around 600 mil­lime­ters in Au­gust. The ear­li­est mea­sure­ment showed the sat­u­ra­tion to be un­changed.

“I think that we would be at more at a height of worry if this was a ma­jor wind event . ... We’re al­ways wor­ried with downed trees and things like that, as far as ground sat­u­ra­tion,” Har­ri­son said. “If any­thing, we might see a cou­ple high tides that look like Sun­day and Monday.”

Rain­fall in the area is about a quar­ter inch from ex­ceed­ing the his­tor­i­cal monthly av­er­age, which is listed at 4.01 inches. The cur­rent amount of pre­cip­i­ta­tion to

date in Septem­ber is 3.77 inches. In Au­gust, the area re­ceived 1.63 inches of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, whereas the monthly av­er­age is listed at 4.27 inches.

High tides are pre­dicted to con­tin­u­ally af­fect flood­ing as the storm ap­proaches the Bay Hun­dred area. High tides are listed as 8:41 a.m. and 9:42 p.m. for Satur­day and 9:33 a.m. and 10:39 p.m. Sun­day.

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

A sign on Mar­ket Street in Ox­ford Wed­nes­day, Sept. 12, warns res­i­dents of the po­ten­tial of over­flow­ing cul­verts. Resid­ual rain from Hur­ri­cane Florence is ex­pected to cause more flood­ing in the area.

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