Hurricane Florence flooding 'could wipe out entire communities'

Michele Stevens
September 15, 2018

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to Category 2 storm on Thursday, but forecasters cautioned that the mammoth storm still poses a major threat to millions of people.

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.

In its latest 1 pm BST update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Radar data continue to indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) with higher gusts in heavy rainbands over water".

The Hurricane Center reported heavy rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds had arrived in the North Carolina Outer Banks.

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.

"Don't relax; don't get complacent". At least seven people, including a mother and an infant, were killed in the storm. "Today the threat becomes a reality". Rain intensity will pick up, as will wind speed and the storm surge is expected to reach up to 13 feet in some areas. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 11 feet (3.3 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The clip quickly went viral Friday, amassing hundreds of thousands of shares and almost 15 million views by Saturday morning.

Another woman died in Pender County after a tree fell on a house and emergency crews couldn't get to her quickly, said Chad McEwen, the county's assistant manager.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, Florence's top winds were 105 mph, and it was marching northwest at 10 mph, about 115 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and 175 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Long before President Donald Trump tossed paper towels to storm-stricken Puerto Ricans and denied Hurricane Maria's reported death toll, his predecessors sometimes struggled to steer the nation through life-and-death emergencies.

Once the winds die down, the linemen will set out, two to a truck, to fix wires brought down by Florence.

Gov. Cooper said Friday, "As soon as it is safe, first responders will make sure they go and rescue people who need to be saved from this storm". "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000". "Our region will be seeing a lot of rain, wind, and flooding this week so #BePrepared", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said on Twitter. He said on Thursday he was focused on Florence but that he had followed all statutes and laws would cooperate with any investigation.

Additionally, roughly 800,000 homes in North Carolina and 430,000 in SC located in low-lying areas or close to rivers are in danger of floods, even though they sit outside of federally declared flood zones. Officials are predicting that potentially 2.5 million customers could be without power as the storm continues on. At least 100 people were rescued from rising waters in New Bern alone, according to the governor's office.

Buildings were torn apart by 90mph winds and hundreds of people were trapped by high water as the Category 1 storm settled in for what could be an extraordinarily destructive drenching.

"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said. "I'm a big chicken".

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

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