MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A tornado watch is now in effect through the afternoon. Flash flood watches and warnings continue across the region.
Florence has weakened to a tropical depression over central South Carolina and will continue to drift westward today. Extreme flash flooding continues in some areas with an increasing risk of isolated tornadoes later today. Areas rivers are rising rapidly with many expected to be in major flood stage later today and this week. Record crests are possible on the Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee and Lumber Rivers.
While Florence will continue to weaken, tremendous amounts of tropical moisture will continue flow into the Carolinas through late Sunday. This will result in periods of excessive rainfall at times. Hourly rain rates could reach 2 to 4 inches per hour. Final rainfall totals in some areas are likely to reach over 25 inches in parts of Robeson County. Areas of southern North Carolina will see final totals of 30-40 inches.
A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the entire area through tonight.
A tornado watch is now in effect for Robeson, Scotland, Horry, Marion, Dillon, Florence, Darlington, and Marlboro Counties through 5:00 pm this evening.
EXTREME FLOOD THREAT AND IMPACTS
A band of extremely heavy rainfall will continue across parts of the area through Sunday. The band of rain will drift and redevelop at times leading to periods of excessive and dangerous rain and flash flooding. The band will likely impact parts of Horry, Marion, Robeson, Marlboro and Scotland Counties at times today. With the ground saturated, additional rainfall will lead to flash flooding in a very short amount of time. Additional rainfall totals today are likely to reach 4 to 6 inches in many areas. An additional 10 inches will be possible for areas near the North Carolina border.
Flash flood warnings remain in effect for areas near and north of the North Carolina border including Brunswick, Robeson and Scotland Counties. The National Weather Service reports widespread flash flooding and water rescues have been reported by media and law enforcement within the warned area.
15 to 20 inches of rain has already fallen in parts of the warning; several months worth of rain. Rainfall rates in some areas will be 1 to 2 inches per hour. Life threatening, catastrophic flooding will continue.
Extreme flooding from rainfall may prompt numerous evacuations and rescues. Rivers and streams may overwhelmingly overflow their banks with deep moving water. Creeks and ditches will become severely flooded and contain strong currents. Flood waters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away. Road scours or complete road failure is likely in many locations, along with the potential for sinkholes. Many streets and parking lots will flood, and may be impacted by swift, flowing water. Numerous road and low-lying bridge closures are likely with some weakened or washed away. Driving conditions will be very dangerous. The delivery of drinking water and sewer services may be interrupted. Flood waters may be polluted and contain hazardous materials
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