Published: Sun, September 16, 2018

Eight dead in Florence storm

Eight dead in Florence storm

At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westward Saturday across SC.

Numerous state highways leading out of town were also disappearing under water.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia.

More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with almost 6,000 in SC shelters, officials said.

Bergaw Mayor Pete Cowan warned that the local hospital was not accessible; it had already been evacuated. "We all know that".

Cooper said others should not follow suit.

Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of calculated that 34 million people in the USA are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain.

At 2300 EDT (0300 GMT), the NHC said Florence had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km), and was slowly drifting westward over SC.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

The storm surge of up to 13 feet (3.9 m) will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches (101.6 cm) will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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.

The enormous storm crept at a 6 miles per hour pace, making it clear that the trouble was just beginning.

"The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it. made landfall 24 hours ago", Cooper said Saturday morning.

"Usually we'd be cleaning roads and done by now", Smith said. "But we're still in the throes of it". "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water".

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state, and we're deeply concerned for farms, for businesses, for schools and even for whole communities that might be wiped away", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

The weather service later measured a storm surge 10 feet deep in the city, which lies on the Neuse River near the Atlantic coast. "More and more inland counties are issuing mandatory evacuations to get people to safety quickly". Though Florence did not arrive with winds as violent as once feared, forecasters got the storm surge and rainfall correct.

Under a auto port on Route 117 South in Burgaw, Kevin Everett's family cooked pancakes and bacon on a charcoal grill. They didn't have power or running water, and were trying to make the best of things.

"I'll grow concerned if the water starts getting close to my truck". "If not we'd be stuck upstairs for the next. how long?" As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans - who according to polls have a very low opinion of the president - can vote in state elections once they've established residency and registered.

In one piece of good news authorities said that 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe.

Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house. "I woke up at 6 a.m., and the water was coming into the house".

Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.

"These are awful times and now all I can do is just pray not only for me but for everybody around me", he said.

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