Thursday, 20 September, 2018

At least 4 dead as slow moving Florence terrorizes Carolinas

Shutterstock View View 19 Shutterstock View View 19
Freda Brock | 15 September, 2018, 19:13

A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man perished when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to dump risky amounts of rain as it continues its slow slog across the Carolinas. Already, video has come out from along the Carolina coastline showing that the ocean has effectively moved onto the land, swamping homes in the affected area. Water rescues were also underway, although it was hard to know how many had occurred.

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.

As of 1 p.m. ET, the storm's sustained winds dropped to 75 miles per hour as it wobbled west-southwestward near the coast, delaying its expected move inland, the National Hurricane Center said.

Officials in the town of 30,000, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. This amount would be a state a record for a tropical storm or hurricane if verified. The storm knocked out power to almost 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding.

A mother and infant in North Carolina died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington amid heavy winds from Hurricane Florence. The coming storm surges and heavy rains will cause severe flooding that may submerge parts of the Carolinas in up to 40 inches of rain.

Screaming winds bent trees and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday. A local official said it was a "storm-related medical fatality", but did not elaborate.

A slowing tropical storm Florence continues to creep along the Carolinas today.

Major river flooding expected to continue into early next week.

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At 11 a.m., the center of Florence was about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 80 mph (130 kmh), according to the hurricane center.

"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said.

Radar loop of Florence over the last 24 hours.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., around 7:15 a.m. ET Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

Satellites will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence from space to make more accurate predictions about where it's heading next.

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

Five million people are at risk with warnings of possible landslides and flooding.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault. Her 6-foot-2 husband went to see what he could do, but the water was above his chest, she said.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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