Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By

Five dead from Hurricane Florence, including mother and baby, say officials

Five dead from Hurricane Florence, including mother and baby, say officials

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared previous year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 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.

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said. Another woman died in Pender County, North Carolina, after suffering a medical condition.

The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house.

Officials urged residents there to take shelter at the highest points of their homes, including rooftops. Gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods.

Already Thursday, streets were transformed into raging streams and massive waves surged along the Outer Banks.

"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses", Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night. "This is just the beginning".

At time of writing, Hurricane Florence is inching towards the coastline, and the combination of intense rainfall and gnarly swell threaten to engulf low-lying land in the region. "This will cause extremely unsafe flooding", the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Morehead City resident Rebecca Marson decided not to evacuate because her surgeon husband wanted to remain behind with other first responders.

Marson said they'd lost power and the winds were howling outside, but they had enough food and water to last them for days.

As 400-mile-wide Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach scores of people besieged by rising waters along a river. Footage posted on social media showed a meteorologist saying on air that they had to evacuate.

Early on Friday, South Carolina emergency officials said there was still time, "but not a lot of time" for people to leave flood-prone areas.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

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