Jonathan Blaes, Brandon Locklear, and Ryan Ellis
NOAA/NWS Raleigh, NC
Hurricane Matthew impacted North Carolina with very heavy rain, damaging winds, and storm surge from 07 October 2016 through 09 October 2016. More than 10 inches of rain was observed across nearly all of the North Carolina Coastal Plain with 18.38 inches of rain observed near Elizabethtown, NC. The extremely heavy rain resulted in widespread flash flooding and subsequent river flooding. The Raleigh News and Observer reported that the flooding produced $1.5 billion in damage to 100,000 homes and the NC Department of Public Safety Floodplain Mapping Program reported that 98,699 structures across the state were inundated with water.
A total of 28 fatalities in North Carolina were attributed to the storm. Freshwater, inland flooding was responsible for 21 of the fatalities with 18 of those occurring in or related to motor vehicles in floodwaters. Two fatalities were wind related. All of the fatalities occurred across inland locations, away from the ocean. In addition, these impacts all occurred while the storm center remained offshore and never made landfall in North Carolina. We will examine the impacts in greater detail including mortality data noting the primary cause of death, location, and the date and time of death. In addition, we will examine other objective measures including river levels, the amount and location of monetary damage and other impacts. The goal of this work is to highlight the significant impact of tropical cyclones across inland locations, and contribute to the NWS Weather-Ready Nation initiative.