A storm forecast from mid-September showing Hurricane Florence bearing down on central North Carolina. Although the storm shifted at the last minute, it still dropped rain on Lee County and the rest of the state for days.

(To close out the year, we’re counting off five of our most-read stories from 2018. Here’s number three. Read number four here and number five here. Click here to read number two.)

Hurricane Florence was the weather event of the year, not just for Lee County, but for much of the mid Atlantic region and beyond. While the storm didn’t cause as much wind damage here as was initially forecast due to a slight last minute change in its path, the rain fell. And fell. And fell. And fell.

Some estimates put the rainfall statewide at more than 8 trillion gallons, and Lee County got its share between Sept. 10 and Sept. 18, receiving inches upon inches of rain even after the storm had passed us by. There were local curfews, an emergency shelter opened up, flooding caused mandatory evacuations in neighboring Harnett County, and rivers surrounding Lee County crested, causing road blockages for days. The storm even put a hurting on the annual Lee Regional Fair.

We were glad to provide daily updates throughout, making 15 posts over the course of a little more than a week, some more lighthearted than others, but all aimed at keeping you informed about the storm’s progress, or at the very least, keeping your spirits up.

Three and a half months later, it’s easy to look back and be thankful that we didn’t suffer as much as our neighbors in some other parts of the state. But Florence was a reminder that every storm should be taken seriously.

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