Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Florence leaves at least four dead, downgraded to tropical storm

Paul Anthony Menchaca.         Source Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Paul Anthony Menchaca. Source Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Kenny Thornton | 15 September, 2018, 12:26

Early on Friday, South Carolina emergency officials said there was still time, "but not a lot of time" for people to leave flood-prone areas.

Hurricane Florence's came ashore at Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, N.C., at 7:15 a.m. ET on Friday with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering - with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded town alone.

Later downgraded to a tropical storm, slow-moving Florence arrived over North and SC just after 7am local time on Friday, bringing torrential rain and severe floods.

The White House said Friday U.S. President Donald Trump will travel to areas hit by Hurricane Florence next week, once it has been determined that his travel would not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.

"We are expecting several more days of rain", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, describing the amount of rainfall from the hurricane as a "1,000-year event".

That's not to say the dangers of Hurricane Florence aren't serious.

The Ahold Delhaize USA chain said on its website that it has temporarily shut 126 stores in North Carolina, 53 in SC and four in Virginia. Scientists say they are wetter, possess more energy and intensify faster.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

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The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you".

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken.

Authorities said more than 60 people, including many children and pets, had to be evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds caused parts of the roof to collapse. On the morning of September 14, the National Hurricane Centre warned that "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges were expected to spread inland.

A mother and infant in North Carolina were among the first reported fatalities linked to Hurricane Florence.

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

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 68 trillion litres of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Hurricane Florence began lashing the coast Thursday morning, sending pounding waves ashore and rising storm surge.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push as far as 2 miles (3 km) inland. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5?" said Mason Tarr, standing on the steps of the building where he sought shelter the night before.

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