Although the heaviest rainfall from Tropical Storm Florence has likely passed, the Cape Fear region still faces flooding, thunderstorms and the potential for tornadoes before a drying trend begins Wednesday.

As of Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported an average rainfall of 10 inches across Cumberland County over the last 72 hours.

Rainfall was measured at 8 inches on Fort Bragg, and the heaviest totals were reported in Hope Mills and the southern parts of the county, where measurements ranged from 10 to 12 inches.

Rainfall through Sunday night is expected to reach 4 to 6 inches in Cumberland County.

The downpour should lighten up Monday, but thunderstorms are likely to develop, according to NWS meteorologist Brandon Locklear, who described conditions early next week as “unsettled.''

“Like summertime unsettled,” he added, with thunderstorms likely to drop intermittent rain in some locations.

“We’ll start seeing dryer air with more heated, filtered sunshine and a humid, muggy air mass,” he said.

Those conditions elevate the possibility of tornadoes.

The NWS has issued tornado warnings throughout Florence’s tear, but chances for more warnings will increase as warming air is likely to create instability.

As for surrounding counties, Sampson received the most rainfall. The weather service reported 16 to 20 inches in some northern sections, as well as extreme southern locales in the 60-mile-long county. Central locations averaged 12 to 15 inches of rain. Another 2 to 4 inches was expected overnight.

Robeson County received 16 to 18 inches of rain, with Lumberton averaging 10 to 12. In the southernmost portions of Robeson, only 4 to 6 inches of rain fell. Another 3 to 6 inches was expected overnight.

Bladen County also has seen 16 to 18 inches of rain near Bladenboro and Garland. The projected rainfall for Sunday night was 2 to 4 inches.

In Harnett County, Dunn was hit with 15 to 18 inches of rain in the 72-hour storm-total window. The central part of the county, around Lillington, reported 9 to 12 inches, and measurements farther west were 8 to 10 inches.

Sunday night, another 3 to 6 inches was expected to fall, but most of that will hit the western part of the county.

Southern Pines took the brunt of the rainfall in Moore County with 8 to 10 inches reported. Other parts of the county averaged 5 to 7 inches. The overnight projection for rainfall in Moore was 2 to 4 inches.

Lee County has seen 8 to 10 inches of rain, with 2 to 4 inches expected Sunday night.

Hoke County’s eastern portions saw 8 to 10 inches of rain, with western portions getting 6 to 7 inches. Another 3 to 6 inches was expected for Hoke overnight.

The Cape Fear region is likely to reach NWS early projections of 20 to 25 inches of total rainfall as tropical storm remnants continue to send showers.

“The major concern now is flooding,” Locklear said.

 

Staff writer Monica Holland can be reached at mholland@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3518.