Florence, a wet and unwanted visitor, besieges Carolinas

16 September, 2018, 00:06 | Author: Emmett Howard
  • Credit PA

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

In Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 on North Carolina's Atlantic coastline, along the Cape Fear River that is home to historic mansions, streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris. The child's father was taken to a hospital.

The 63-year-old former firefighter says he was able to sleep through the torrential rain and thrashing winds when then-Hurricane Florence made landfall early Friday morning, only waking up to texts he received at 7 a.m. from friends checking up on him. Another person died from a cardiac arrest when emergency services could not reach her, due to downed trees blocking their path.

Kim Adams makes her way to her home that is surrounded by flood waters after Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Southport, North Carolina.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the Category 1 hurricane is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

The Carteret Country Sheriff's Department confirmed that these two deaths initially reported as a result of Florence were a result of an apparent murder-suicide. Local media said she had suffered a heart attack.

"Rivers are rising to risky levels, and the relentless rains will continue through the weekend", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned on Friday.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakened to 112 km/h as it moved forward at 6km/h about 25 kilometres north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and into the northeastern coast of SC in spots.

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"Center of Florence moving slowly westward across eastern SC", the National Hurricane Center said in a 2 p.m. bulletin.

Authorities fear the death toll will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westwards across SC.

On Saturday some residents tried to return to home, driving through flooded highways armed with chainsaws to clear fallen pine needle trees that covered the road.

Some towns have already been soaked by more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of drenching rains, and forecasters warned that totals could reach 3 1/2 feet (1 meter), unleashing floods well inland through early next week. With Florence, "we're looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days". New Bern assured its residents that additional resources were on their way, including from out of state.

Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the eastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding.

FEMA teams were employing boats in the rescues and were determining which cases were the most severe.

New Bern's mayor said 4,200 homes were damaged in the city. But there were times she thought they wouldn't survive, she told CNN.

The water "is as high as it's ever been and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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