Hurricane Matthew could bring ‘life-threatening’ flooding to Cape Fear

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High water sign posted in a northern New Hanover County neighborhood.
High water sign posted in a northern New Hanover County neighborhood.

SOUTHEASTERN, NORTH CAROLINA — Forecasters with the National Weather Service say life-threatening flash flooding is possible for the Cape Fear Region when Hurricane Matthew makes its way to the North Carolina Coast.

Matthew remains a dangerous Category 3 hurricane and is expected to have devastating impacts on Florida today. As of 5 a.m. Friday, the storm was about 40 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, moving northwest at 13 mph.

The Cape Fear area has been under a flash flood watch and a tropical storm warning, with a hurricane warning just issued Friday morning. The track of Hurricane Matthew toward the coast of the Carolinas shifted farther to the north overnight and lost some speed. Now, the storm’s expected turn east should happen off the middle and upper South Carolina coast.

Though the current track has the eye of the storm south of the Cape Fear region, forecasters say there remains within the forecast cone, which brings heavy rain, flooding, high winds and storm surge.

The official track of Hurricane Matthew continues just off the South Carolina coast and passing south of Cape Fear during Saturday night. The forecast cone still includes all of northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina. The storm’s closest approach is expected Saturday and Saturday night.

Rain fall predictions along southeastern North Carolina’s coast range between 11-12 inches. Lesser, but still significant amounts are expected inland. Rain is expected to begin Friday and increase as the storm continues to shift. The effects of the heavy rainfall will include impassable roads, road wash-outs and flooded structures in low-lying areas.

The latest map from the National Weather Service tracks Hurricane Matthew a bit further north.
The latest map from the National Weather Service tracks Hurricane Matthew a bit further north.

Wind speeds range between 40-50 mph with wind gusts over 60 mph. Wind impacts include, downed trees, downed trees blocking roads and damaging homes, power outages and some damage to structures. Winds are predicted to decrease Sunday.

A storm surge watch is also in effect for Cape Fear. Along the ocean front, a 1-3 foot surge is expected along the ocean front and low-lying tidal areas and creeks of Pender, New Hanover and eastern Brunswick County.

Keep updated on the latest storm information from the National Weather Service, visit their website.