Florence turns deadly, unleashing 'catastrophic' floods on Carolinas
17 September, 2018, 12:54 | Author: Rosalie Gross
Firefighters and rescue crews pray in front of a home after removing a resident trapped inside during HurricaneFlorence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.
4 deaths were confirmed by officials as American media reported another, and the storm has wreaked havoc in the Carolinas, lashing the USA states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.
Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.
At a briefing, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the risk of fatality will only grow when people venture out once the winds die down. "(It's) a unsafe situation here", Cooper said.
There had been 3 confirmed deaths from the storm and several others were being investigated to determine if they were storm-related, he said. Emergency crews also rescued an Onslow family from their home where a tree fell through the roof, Jordan said. Officials believe he died of a cardiac event when he went outside to check on his hunting dogs late Thursday night, according to the NC State Emergency Response team.
Calling the deadly storm a "thousand-year rain event", Gov Cooper continued: "The sun rose this morning on an extremely unsafe situation and it's getting worse".
Video from Belhaven, North Carolina, showed storm-surge flooding up to the window-level of a house early Friday morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting Tuesday in the White House on hurricane preparations as FEMA administrator Brock Long points on a graphic to the potential track of Hurricane Florence.
"Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement - not easy, very risky, tremendous talent".
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year. Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland.
Environmental groups said Friday that they were anxious that scores of hog lagoons will burst again or be overtopped by flooding, spilling their contents into rivers used as sources of drinking water.
"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away".
"You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter. Coast Guard members said choppers had made about 50 rescues in and around New Bern and Jacksonville as of noon.
Besides federal and state emergency crews, rescuers were being helped by volunteers from the "Cajun Navy" who also turned up in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to carry out water rescues.
Although the storm is now a Category 1 hurricane, it is still dumping feet of rain over coastal communities.
More than 16 inches of rain have fallen in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way, the hurricane center said.
The storm's intensity held at about 90 miles per hour (144 kph), and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most risky place to be as Florence moved ashore.
In Wilmington, near where the eye of the storm touched down, trees and power lines were felled and many windows were broken.
On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers". We have steps on the sides of the house so it's a few feet off the ground anyway.
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Executives in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia declared emergencies earlier in the week. The hurricane is expected to dump heavy rain throughout the region and FEMA officials said it's not just a coastal problem.
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Those were not needed during the response phase and were not distributed by the governor of Puerto Rico or FEMA for that reason'. They factored in many variables, including the departure of hundreds of thousands of island residents in the aftermath of Maria.
Almost 48,000 houses in those high-risk areas are made of light materials and vulnerable to Mangkhut's ferocious winds. Mangkhut has already passed over Guam where power outages and torrential wind and rain impacted the small island.
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While now classified as a hurricane, Helene will be downgraded to a storm by the time it reaches the shores of Northern Ireland. Isaac caused some flooding earlier in Dominica and is forecast to gradually weaken over the next few days.
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Evacuees clogging highways ahead of Florence
An estimated 250,000 more people from the northern Outer Banks were due to be sent to higher ground starting Tuesday at midday. A storm surge warning has been issued from South Santee River, SC, to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
Hurricane Florence Makes Its Way Toward North Carolina
Rainfall will accumulate near 2 feet in North Carolina. "We're going to stay tight and check on everybody", he said. Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas.