Florence plows inland, leaving five dead, states flooded

Leroy Wright
September 15, 2018

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

And cameras aboard the International Space Station managed to catch incredible footage just a few minutes after the storm's landfall.

Food Lion, Bi-Lo, Aldi, Lidl, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Walmart and Publix were among the chains announcing temporary store closures in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as Florence passes through the region. Although the storm is now a Category 1 hurricane, it is still dumping feet of rain over coastal communities.

More than 60 people, including an infant, children and their pets, were rescued from a collapsing hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at the height of the storm, according to the Associated Press.

He said "24 to 36 hours remain for significant threats" from heavy rain, storm surge and flooding.

She estimated 441,000 people have already evacuated because of the storm.

Power suppliers report more than 350,000 outages in North Carolina, the bulk along the coast.

"It went from zero to 100 real quick", he said.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", Cooper said.

In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers.

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More than 1.7 million people evacuated this week, leaving behind homes, schools and precious belongings. National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline said the mountains will wring water out of the moist tropical air: "It's like running into a wall, and that moisture has to go somewhere, and it goes up, creates rain, and you have torrential rain in that area".

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".

The storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas that could prove deceptively lethal as swollen rivers and streams spill over their banks and continue to rise.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

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.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. One team from Maryland helped with about 40 rescues in New Bern starting Thursday, member Mitchell Rusland said. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

Monetary donations also are are accepted at many locations.

In the besieged city of New Bern, rescuers had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters by midmorning Friday, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said. The Waccamaw River in Conway and the Little Pee Dee River in Galivants Ferry are expected to reach major flood levels by early next week, with officials predicting possible record-setting floods in the western part of the county. Wind gusts of 105 miles per hour - the highest recorded since 1958 - were reported in Wilmington Friday morning. Local media said she had suffered a heart attack.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

President Donald Trump praised the "incredible job" being done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency workers and first-responders.

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