Thursday, 20 September, 2018

As Florence moves west, North Carolina prepares for recovery

Wilmington NC tree Gov. McMaster cautions SC residents as Hurricane Florence moves toward state
Doris Mccormick | 16 September, 2018, 06:30

"I can not overstate it: flood waters are rising".

Others were at home hoping for the best.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

Some towns have received more than two feet of rain from Florence, and forecasters warned that drenching rains totalling up to three-and-a-half feet of water could trigger epic flooding well inland through early next week.

There have been at least 11 storm-related deaths since Florence, then a Category-1 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning.

Two other rain collection locations for NOAA are approaching the 1999 mark as well - Newport/Morehead City is at 23.75 inches and Emerald Isle is at 23.66 inches.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days.

"Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days".

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of risky storm surges and "catastrophic flooding". She said that count is expected to increase significantly.

Non-profit groups are preparing to serve tens of thousands of meals daily in the most-damaged areas, while state and federal emergency officials are locating temporary housing, including hotel rooms, for storm victims in the weeks or months that they're displaced.

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Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

The death toll from Hurricane Florence rose to eight on Saturday, local media said.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. It tore roofs and facades off buildings and toppled trees. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines. Traffic lights out of order because of power failures swayed in the gusty wind.

The storm has brought more than 30 inches of rain to at least one collection spot in Swansboro, shattering the mark of 24.06 inches of rain in Wilmington brought by Floyd, according to the National Weather Service. Almost 2,100 flights have been canceled through Saturday.

The triple punch of falling rain, rising rivers and coastal storm surges was already triggering catastrophic floods.

The US Marines, Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to rescue hundreds of people trapped by Florence's shoreline onslaught.

Dolphins have been seen swimming close to the shoreline in high water caused by Hurricane Florence.

"And from that point, we started hearing where people were saying on phone calls, 'I love you, ' to their family members because they were not sure they were going to get out of it alive", she said Friday. Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the electricity went out.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington. Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said Saturday morning.

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