Hurricane Florence rips through Carolina coast

17 September, 2018, 10:39 | Author: Harriet Bell
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More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught would last for hours and hours because Florence was barely creeping along at nine km/h and still drawing energy from the ocean.

They have made clear that this event is all about the water - which the storm has delivered in devastating quantity.

The town of Oriental, North Carolina, had gotten more than 18 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge, while Surf City had 14 inches and it was still coming down. Both states also are at a risk of unsafe flash floods and river flooding.

Relief will not come quickly.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken. This is a perilous moment for the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the roads to escape the storm's fury. Cruise ships have diverted to Florida away from the storm's path, and some hotels are offering special discounts for evacuees. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti.

Water began rising in their home Thursday night, Morales said.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", said Ballance, owner of a seafood restaurant that was flooded.

At 2 a.m. Friday, the city tweeted an ominous message, saying at least 150 people were awaiting rescue.

And so as a pelting rain fell Friday, residents worked in soaked T-shirts and shorts to try to stave off another disaster. Florence has been a odd tropical cyclone since it materialized in the distant Atlantic and took an unusual path toward the mainland United States. It's all about the steering currents. "You don't want slow, but that's what we have". "That's the only reason we stayed".

The coast has been battered, and the mountains appear to be next.

Officials in SC reported the state's first fatality due to Florence on Saturday.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath. An elevated risk of landslides is now expected in western North Carolina. Flash floods can materialize within minutes of intense rain as the water rushes down hillsides. "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said. "We are stuck in the attic".

Appalachian State University in Boone canceled its first home football game scheduled for Saturday. "We are doing as well as we can", Coudriet said.

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The National Hurricane Center says in its 5 a.m. update Sunday that excessive amounts of rain are still being dumped in North Carolina and the effect is expected to be "catastrophic". "I'm pretty seasoned. We've done about 12 hurricanes". Rivers swelled not only with water but with the carcasses of livestock.

The drama was unfolding in the riverfront town of New Bern, which was hit by a huge storm surge as the sprawling Category 1 hurricane came close to making landfall.

The North Carolina State Emergency Response Team also attributed a husband and wife's deaths to the storm.

The eyewall of Florence struck the coast before dawn. Officials did not know his condition as of 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Eight-foot waves, a local record, ruffled the surface of the Cape Fear River.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105mph, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958, the weather service said.

Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to". Traffic lights were out. He was blown down at 8 a.m.at his home on Middle Street.

In one incident, a mother, 41, and her 7-month-old son were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

In Kinston, a city southeast of Raleigh, two people died in the storm. Family members found the man's body, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services. And a 77-year-old man died when he was knocked over by wind, he said.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday announced the death of a 61-year-old woman who died when her auto hit a downed tree on a highway.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm", Cooper said in a statement.

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

This article was written by Scott Wilson, Patricia Sullivan, Mark Berman and Joel Achenbach, reporters for The Washington Post. "Be extremely careful and stay alert".

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