Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

Cristina Cross
September 16, 2018

Florence blew ashore early Friday in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, buckling buildings, deluging entire communities and knocking out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses as it crawled inland and weakened into a still-lethal tropical storm.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said.

In the Fayetteville area, John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) away from the Cape Fear River.

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, more than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend. 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".

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of risky storm surges and "catastrophic flooding".

Southwestern Virginia is also expecting up to 10in (25cm).

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. 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".

"It's not anywhere", North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities. The eye moved from sea to land at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

Rising water forced a North Carolina TV station to evacuate its newsroom in the middle of Hurricane Florence coverage.

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

The NWS says southern and central portions of North Carolina into far northeast SC are expected to report an additional 10 to 15 inches of rainfall - with storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras.

"Right now we've rescued over 400 people".

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Florence continues to bring rains and threaten lives on the east coast of the U.S. even after it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall.

"The flood danger from storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hrs ago", North Carolina Emergency Management said on Twitter.

Electricity remained out for much of the city, with power lines lying across many roads like wet strands of spaghetti.

The Cape Fear River near Fayetteville is projected to rise nearly 45 feet (14 metres) to 62 feet (19 metres) by Tuesday.

Near the Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington, coal ash leaked from a Duke Energy landfill.

Officials had warned before the storm that the rains could risk tainting waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

"Many people who think the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat", he said, adding: "Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear".

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday announced the death of a 61-year-old woman who died when her vehicle hit a downed tree on a highway.

The casualties include a mother and baby who were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Are you affected by Tropical Storm Florence?

The White House yesterday said President Donald Trump had approved making federal funding available in some counties.

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