4 dead as Hurricane Florence drenches the Carolinas

Michele Stevens
September 17, 2018

Two people died in Lenoir County.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed the death of the man who was electrocuted outside, CNN reported. His state has already endured record rainfall, with much more forecast to come. At that time, Florence was a Category 1 storm but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's winds have slowed to tropical storm strength, and said the storm is moving slowly inland with sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour and higher gusts. So it looks like probably Florence is slowing down as a outcome, to some degree at least, from climate change.

And on Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Here are the latest predictions and maps for rainfall totals in North and South Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the National Hurricane Center said. There had been no reports of injuries or fatalities, though most of the city was without power and thousands of buildings had been damaged, she said. At least 1 million people were ordered to evacuate along the coast. A powerful 10-foot storm surge left around 150 people stranded and waiting to be rescued in New Bern, North Carolina, Friday morning.

There have been numerous calls for fallen trees, according to officials, however they are not aware of any others where people are trapped.

"As a state, we have put our head in the sand", Representative Pricey Harrison said.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat. His mom remembers Hurricane Hazel, when the water did not rise as high as his fifth step, where it was Thursday night.

Although Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, deadly and unsafe storm surge will plague the region for at least the next day or two.

According to reports - Category 1 hurricane - after coming ashore in North Carolina - downgraded Florence to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon and trudged into SC later in the night. He made a plan B: If the water reached the house, he'd take the pets upstairs to the second floor.

Meanwhile the White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations.

The greatest storm surge inundation is expected between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and western Pamlico Sound, the National Hurricane Center said. In the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores could get gusty winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Helene this weekend, while Isaac regained tropical storm strength after earlier weakening in the Caribbean Sea.

The force of the storm has knocked down power lines, leaving a quarter of a million people in the dark. Maria touched down in Puerto Rico previous year, leaving billions of dollars in damages and at least 3,000 people dead.

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