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Latest track shows Charlotte still in line for flooding rains
Friday, 8:35 a.m. There’s little deviation in the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. track for Florence, which shows the storm is expected to move south and west across South Carolina through Saturday before turning north and west into North Carolina.
The storm is expected to cross the Columbia, S.C. region on Saturday. Charlotte is in line for 10 to 15 inches of rain and potential tropical storm-force winds, the National Hurricane Center predicts.
Risk for flooding in Charlotte this weekend
Friday, 8 a.m.
The National Weather Service’s Greer, S.C. office is predicting Charlotte will receive a massive deluge this weekend as Florence moves inland. That’s elevated the risk for flooding to “extreme” in Charlotte and the surrounding counties for Saturday and Sunday.
A flash flood watch will be in effect this weekend for most of the region. The Charlotte area could receive a foot or more of rain, the weather service is predicting.
Florence’s 5 a.m. track from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm moving across Columbia, S.C. on Saturday afternoon, before turning northwest and heading for North Carolina. That would bring it near the Charlotte region as a tropical storm or tropical depression, dumping heavy rain before moving into Tennessee and Virginia early Monday.
Florence drops to Cat 1, but still ‘life-threatening’
Thursday, 11 p.m.: Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane but was delivering “life-threatening storm surge” along the NC coast, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. Florence had 90 mph winds, and the “threat of freshwater flooding will increase” in the days ahead, according to the advisory. The storm was about 60 miles east of Wilmington.
Islamic Center opens doors to evacuees
Thursday, 9:24 p.m.: The Islamic Center of Charlotte, 1700 Progress Lane, tweeted that it is partnering with United Muslim Relief to provide fresh water and basic aid packs to evacuees and is “opening our doors as a shelter … to help those in need.“
Charlotte braces for more rain than expected
Thursday, 8:21 p.m.: Charlotte’s airport can expect 10.83 inches of rain during Florence, according to the latest projected rainfall totals from the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. That’s up significantly from Wednesday’s NWS estimate of 6.3 inches.
Areas to the south and east of Charlotte could see even more rain and flooding — 14.5 inches in Monroe, 13.67 inches in Concord, 14.7 inches in Albemarle and 18.46 inches in Anson County, said meteorologist Doug Outlaw of the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C.
Higher amounts also are forecast for cities to the west of Charlotte, with Gastonia at 9.64 inches, Lincolnton 8.78 inches and Shelby 6.8 inches.
The mountains should see far smaller amounts, according to Outlaw, with only 3.54 inches anticipated in Asheville.
Government offices to close at noon Friday
Thursday, 5:03 p.m.: City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County government offices will close at noon Friday ahead of the storm, the city and county announced in a joint news release.
CharMeck 311 and 911 emergency services will remain active. CharMeck 311 will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Storm emergency updates: http://charlottenc.gov/emergency/Pages/default.aspx .
Volunteers respond to call to deliver meals to shut-ins
Thursday, 4:52 p.m.: Friendship Trays, the nonprofit that provides meals for shut-ins, the elderly and people who can’t cook for themselves, was overwhelmed with help Thursday after putting out word on social media that they needed volunteer drivers, said executive director Lucy Carter Bush. So many people stepped up, they couldn’t answer all the messages.
“It was wild,” she said. “We got what we needed and then some.”
Friendship Trays was delivering both meals and emergency packs with canned goods, to make sure their clients could get through the weekend.
Monday is still up in the air, Bush said. Since no one knows how conditions will develop over the weekend, she doesn’t yet know if they’ll be able to make deliveries. If they can, they will need more volunteers, she said. They’ll post updates on the website, www.friendships.org, and through a recording on their phone line, 704-333-9229.
Mecklenburg County jail inmates allowed free calls
Thursday, 4:33 p.m.: Sheriff Irwin Carmichael approved a request from Global Tel Link Inc. to offer inmates two free 5-minute phone calls per day Thursday through Saturday.
“We know how important it is to get reassurances from loved ones that they are taking the necessary steps to prepare,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Plenty of space at Red Cross shelters
Thursday, 4 p.m.: The Observer visited each of the Charlotte area’s five Red Cross shelters on Thursday, and all five had plenty of space available.
The busiest, at East Mecklenburg High School, had only about a quarter of its beds occupied at midday. Several shelters were almost empty Thursday.
All of the shelters accept pets, and by 4 p.m. Thursday, the North Mecklenburg High shelter was housing two dogs, two cats and a bearded dragon.
For previous live updates, go here.