Gov. McMaster cautions SC residents as Hurricane Florence moves toward state

16 September, 2018, 22:55 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Rescue workers from the Township No. 7 Fire Department and volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team use a truck to move people rescued from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14 2018 in James City N.C. (Chip Somodevilla  Gett

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel and hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. Gov. Roy Cooper's office said he died while plugging in a generator.

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, near where the hurricane made landfall, said a mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their house.

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

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7.15 am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Cooper said the Neuse River had seen storm surge as high as 10 feet (three meters) and the amount of rainfall was a "1,000-year event".

There is really nowhere for the water to go.

As of 1 p.m. ET, more than a foot of rain had fallen in many towns in southeastern North Carolina.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters, and boats.

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Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

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.

Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

When Hurricane Florence started battering eastern North Carolina with record rainfall, the Neuse and Trent rivers began to swell - and combined with high tide, made for risky flooding and dramatic rescues. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated. We see it happen in New Orleans and other areas.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75mph, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

So far, the life-threatening storm has forced more than 26,000 people into emergency shelters and more than 1,100 flights along the US East Coast have been cancelled this weekend.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted earlier Friday.

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

"We're very familiar in Columbia with the flooding of 2015", McMaster said.

The organization is sending truckloads of relief supplies that it says will reach over 10,000 of the most vulnerable people impacted by the storm.

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