LUMBERTON — Robeson County can expect a soaking tonight and Friday from Tropical Storm Hermine.
According to a 6:30 a.m. National Weather Service briefing on the storm, Robeson County is expected to get about 6.5 inches of rain by 8 p.m. Saturday. That amount of rainfall could overwhelm drainage systems in some areas resulting in flooding, according to the National Weather Service.
“The storm will accelerate north and northeastward and move through the eastern Carolinas later Friday into early Saturday,” the Weather Service said. “Several hours of very heavy rain and tropical storm force winds are expected during this time.”
Mitchell Pate, Emergency Services director for the city of Lumberton, said his department is monitoring National Weather Service briefings on the storm.
“We’re basically looking at a lot of rain,” he said.
Pate said flooding could be a concern in Lumberton “anywhere near the river … those are our lowest places.” A flash flood watch is in effect for all of Southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency CodeRED alerts, either via the city or the county’s website. The system sends emergency notifications to residents via phone calls, text messages and emails. Pate said the National Weather Service can send out alerts directly to subscribers, and the city can also send personalized alerts, for example to warn residents about flooding.
“If anything out of the ordinary comes up, we will be putting out CodeRED notices,” he said.
Although Robeson was not under a tropical storm watch this morning, nearby Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties in Southeast North Carolina and for Georgetown, Horry, Florence, Marion, and Williamsburg counties in northeast South Carolina were. The tropical storm watch is also in effect for the adjacent coastal waters.
As of 8 a.m. today, Hermine was centered about 235 miles west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, and was moving north-northeast at 12 mph with sustained winds at 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Florida’s Gulf coast was bracing this morning for a hit from Hermine, which forecasters said could make landfall as a hurricane.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Florida’s Big Bend from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. And on the East Coast, a tropical storm warning was issued for an area that extended from Marineland, Florida, northward to the South Santee River in South Carolina.
Some strengthening was forecast and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hermine was expected to be a hurricane when it makes landfall in Florida on Thursday night or early Friday.
Residents in some low-lying communities in Florida were being asked to evacuate Thursday as the storm approached. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that emergency management officials in Franklin County have issued a mandatory evacuation notice for people living on St. George Island, Dog Island, Alligator Point and Bald Point. Residents in other low-lying areas prone to flooding were also being asked to evacuate.