Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center but authorities warned the danger was far from over predicting that “life-threatening storm surges and strong winds” would persist through the night. Ph Hurricane Florence: Reporter Struggles To Stand As People Walk By Calmly In Viral Clip
Ellis Copeland | 15 September, 2018, 20:17

The deaths include two people killed in Lenoir County, and a mother and infant killed in Wilmington, N.C., when a tree fell on a home, according to authorities.

Tropical storm Florence lumbered inland on Saturday, knocking down trees, flooding rivers, and dumping torrents of rain in the Carolinas, where five people have died. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said.

Since making landfall at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina on Friday morning, Florence's forward speed has slowed down dramatically, with the storms center of circulation only about 100 miles away from Wrightsville Beach a full 24 hours after landfall.

By Friday evening, the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. That is roughly double the rainfall from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, he said.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to go house to house to remove people.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

Florence came ashore more than 24 hours ago. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

Mother and Infant Among First Reported Fatalities as Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall
At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened. Since midnight, peak wind gusts reached 32 miles per hour in Raleigh and 47 miles per hour in Fayetteville.


Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.


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This story was compiled from McClatchy papers in North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer; and in South Carolina, The State in Columbia, the Beaufort Gazette, The Island Packet in Hilton Head and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach; and supplemented with wire service reports.

"This storm is relentless and excruciating", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told CNN late on Friday. Areas like New Bern also could see an additional 3 to 5 feet of storm surge as high tide combines with the seawater still being pushed ashore by Florence, Graham said.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth". Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.

The flooding soon spread into SC.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted during the height of the storm.

The deadly effects of the storm are a result of Florence slowing down in its path, pummelling areas with monumental rains and severe wind.

"We've had people in attics, on top of roofs", she said.

More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.

As the storm moves into hilly terrain, it's also expected to unleash catastrophic and potentially deadly flash flooding and possibly mud slides, the hurricane center warned.

The evacuation order for the Lowcountry is lifted as Tropical Storm Florence moves out of the coast areas and into the Midlands.

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