The Nation Weather Service is warning southeast North Carolina residents to expect life-threatening flash floods as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
The expected rainfall totals continue to rise, and the National Weather Service now projects portions of Bladen County to be in the area hardest hit with rain. The northern half of the county, including Elizabethtown, is expected to receive 9.92 inches of rain, and the southern half of the county is in the area that will see the most rain, with totals exceeding 10 inches.
Impacts from rain include impassable roads, road washouts, and flooded structures in low-lying areas. The Elizabethtown portion of the Cape Fear River has a 40 percent chance of flooding, and the William O Hoske Lock and Dam has a 30 percent chance of minor flooding.
While Matthew is still expected to skirt the northern coast of South Carolina, its wind effects will still be felt. Maximum sustained winds for Bladen County will be 37 miles per hour, with wind gusts peaking at 52 miles per hour.
While a tropical storm warning has not been issued for Bladen County, the probability remains at 50 percent that the county will see tropical storm force winds. Winds will be increasing Friday night and will continue to increase Saturday, before decreasing Sunday.
Saturated soil means trees may topple in strong guests. Wind impacts also include damaged homes and power outages, according to the National Weather Service.
Matthew’s closest approach to North Carolina will be Saturday and Saturday night. The hurricane is expected to make a U-turn back toward the Bahamas or southern Florida in the early part of next week.
The National Hurricane Center is also eyeing Hurricane Nicole, upgraded to a category 2 north of the Bahamas.