Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence in pictures: ‘1,000 year event’ storm LASHES US east coast

Sandra Phillips | 16 September, 2018, 04:15

A North Carolina pastor and two members of his church set out to rescue people from the floodwaters of Hurricane Florence, but ended up first finding some four-legged creatures who needed assistance.

In New Bern, North Carolina, one of the cities hardest-hit by the storm that made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, a beloved bear statue and its thick pedestal were uprooted and washed away.

Officials in SC are reporting the state's first fatality due to Florence, bringing the storm's overall death toll to at least five.

Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 miles per hour (110 kph), and it's at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 miles per hour (6 kph).

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

"If you live in a floodplain and planned on staying, you might need to reevaluate", said Joel Cline, a North Carolina native and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.

This story will be updated with additional information momentarily.

By Saturday, Florence's death toll had already risen to seven.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

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Flooding and a strong storm surge prompted more than 90 calls to the emergency operation center in Craven County, N.C., for residents trapped in vehicles and homes, spokeswoman Amber Parker said. "We have started to see the water recede".

Water rescues continued as the remnants of Florence stalled over North Carolina, dumping several feet of rain and shattering records - and more was on the way. Officials in the town of 30,000, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. The governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out as the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.

Doll said residents near the Cape Fear River should expect major floods by Monday.

Two fins were spotted in the high water in Wilmington.

"We're in one of these (rain) bands".

Members of Onslow County emergency look to see if a passenger was still in a auto that was overtaken by flooding on US Route 17 outside of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water, while many of their neighbors awaited help.

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