Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

Andrew Carter  The News & Observer via AP Andrew Carter The News & Observer via AP
Anna Jefferson | 16 September, 2018, 05:15

During a driving rain, Maggie Belgie of The Cajun Navy, carries a child evacuating a flooding trailer community during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina, U.S. September 15, 2018.

North Carolina must withstand more torrential rains, gusty winds, and river flooding from Tropical Storm Florence next week, but emergency leaders are already working on the recovery. As of Saturday afternoon, about 752,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.

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.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said.

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown.

"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out", Quintin Washington said.

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy who was carried out in a life vest.

That kind of scenario is likely to repeat itself all over communities in Eastern North Carolina, as swollen rivers flood towns and the pouring rain adds to the misery.

Two people also died in Harkers Island, North Carolina, on Friday, Carteret County Director of Emergency Services Stephen Rea said Saturday.

More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.

Five people are known to have died as the massive weather system knocked down trees, flooded rivers, and dumped sheets of rain in the Carolinas.

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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 of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Cooper warned: "Don't drive through water, no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house".

A mother and her baby died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Florence already has set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

Over 100 people remain trapped in New Bern, a town on the Neuse River which has been hit hard by rain and flooding. A 61-year-old woman died Friday night when her vehicle struck a tree that fell during the storm, state emergency officials said.

View of Florence in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

The effects of Florence won't be fading anytime soon, either, as current forecasts have upwards of 15-to-20 additional inches of rain possible for areas of North and SC will Florence's remnants will linger for the next 48 to 72 hours. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

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

U.S. correspondent Cordelia Lynch, who is in New Bern, said: "This community in the weeks and months to come is up against a great deal of flooding".

One of those was the Waccamaw River in South Carolina's Horry County, which had reached 8.9 feet by Saturday; it floods at 11 feet. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.

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