Florence downgraded to tropical storm, but will continue to threaten Carolinas

Cristina Cross
September 15, 2018

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 225 km/h earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7.15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few kilometres east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

Saffo said crews, already out Saturday trying to clear debris even as the storm continued howling and dropping rain, need time to get roads clear.

Yesterday, the European Space Agency released a short video of astronauts aboard the space station watching the storm out of the cupola armed with powerful cameras to capture its giant knot of storm clouds.

Cooper said many people in his state who may think the storm has missed them have not yet seen its actual threat to their regions, advising residents inland that "rivers will rise days after the rain has stopped", reaching their highest level days from now.

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers.

A day after Florence's landfall in North Carolina, water is shaping up to be the storm's deadliest impact - and the rains will only keep coming as flood damage mounts.

There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries, but authorities said more than 100 people were rescued further north in New Bern, where the downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was under water.

"The town is a mess, but for most people it will just be a matter of cleaning up", he said.

In an update published at 5:33 a.m. ET on Saturday, the agency said that the storm is now striking SC and has a path through the in-land charted for the next few days.

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

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As the storm slowly churned toward the shore, people who chose not to evacuate got caught in the floodwaters.

Even though Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, it already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds.

Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet.

The rest of SC into western North Carolina and southwest Virginia is expected to report 5 to 10 inches of additional rainfall, with isolated cases of 15 inches.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

At least 4 people killed, including mother and baby. As of Saturday morning, a large swath of the Carolinas were still seeing up to 2 inches of rainfall every hour, and relief might not come for days.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 870,000 homes and businesses.

The storm is expected to bring historic and "catastrophic" rain and flooding, the National Hurricane Center said in an 8 a.m. briefing.

The reporter, Mike Seidel, was reporting from Wilmington, N.C., Friday afternoon, where he was shown hunched over and appearing to brace against a strong wind. It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina. She said medical staff is working 12-hour shifts, "which is their typical shift", and are being kept at the hospital until conditions are safe.

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