Friday, 16 November, 2018

Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least eight dead

Frank Williams | 16 September, 2018, 10:25

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering unsafe flooding, knocking out power in almost 900,000 homes and businesses, and causing at least eight deaths.

"We knew this was going to be a big storm, but it is going to be of epic proportions", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference in Raleigh.

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. The page says service animals aren't barred from evacuation shelters, beaches shouldn't be used for sand bags, and evacuation orders aren't enforced by FEMA.

Ex-hurricane Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 80-kilometres-per-hour but it's projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding.

"Were expecting additional rainfall across southeastern central into southern North Carolina and across Northern parts of SC where additional rainfall amounts that could exceed 10 inches".

Almost 814,000 homes in North Carolina and 170,000 in SC are without power. Along with other home cleanup and fix work ministries, Frazier said his group works to "basically restore somebody back to where they were as much as we can".

The figure for SC was 170,000. "As rivers keep rising and rain keeps falling, the flooding will spread".

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina. Its winds were down to 40 miles per hour (75 kph).

Mike Pollack searches for a drain in the yard of his flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm will dump rain in the Carolinas through the weekend before reaching the Ohio Valley.

A North Carolina pastor and two members of his church set out to rescue people from the floodwaters of Hurricane Florence, but ended up first finding some four-legged creatures who needed assistance.

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In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to go house to house to remove people.

Five people are known to have died as the massive weather system knocked down trees, flooded rivers, and dumped sheets of rain in the Carolinas.

"We have 4,200 damaged homes", he said, urging residents to not wade out into the streets because of the dangers posed by downed power lines.

At least seven people, including a mother and an infant, were killed in the storm.

In Lumberton, North Carolina, volunteers are working to try to prevent a repeat of what happened with 2016's Hurricane Matthew, which left the city underwater for days.

Sutton was mothballed in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts 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.

The White House said on Friday President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that fell across a highway. Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

The effects of Florence won't be fading anytime soon, either, as current forecasts have upwards of 15-to-20 additional inches of rain possible for areas of North and SC will Florence's remnants will linger for the next 48 to 72 hours.

Then it will swing to the northeast in the middle of next week on a path to the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia, where it will be an extra-tropical low with gale-force winds.

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