Published: Sun, September 16, 2018

Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters that five deaths have been officially confirmed in his state, with several more under investigation. They had heeded officials' warnings that the storm was treacherous, with record-setting rains and storm surges not seen in North Carolina in decades. But vacationers will have problems getting to the coast because of road issues, especially if they travel through eastern North Carolina to get there, Twiddy said.

Florence's intensity has diminished since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane.

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.

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

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

Power outages affecting more than 900,000 in Carolinas.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said.

As much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain could fall on coastal areas in North and SC, the National Hurricane Center said.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with diminished winds, but it has stalled over the Wilmington region as predicted and will continue drenching the area with historic and catastrophic rain, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. briefing. Almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas early on Friday, utility officials said.

For every degree the air warms, it can hold almost 4 percent more water (7 percent per degree Celsius) and offer measurably more energy to goose the storm, scientists said.


It's part of the same pattern that unfolded during Hurricane Katrina, when some 150,000 to 200,000 people remained in their homes despite federal evacuation orders, and during Hurricane Maria, which an independent study conducted by George Washington University recently revealed resulted in almost 3,000 deaths.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the coastline for days.

With a plodding pace belying still-unspent fury, Tropical Storm Florence pushed deeper into the Carolinas on Saturday, inundating homes, toppling trees and pushing rivers far beyond their banks as rescuers rushed to keep pace. About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.

A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, when a tree fell on their home. The woman's husband was injured in the incident and taken to a nearby hospital, according to police.

Two people died in Lenoir County.

In New Bern, a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast that saw storm surges up to 10 feet (3 meters), authorities were rescuing stranded residents and taking stock of damages.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern. And their storm surges are more destructive because climate change has already made the seas rise.

This photo shows an elderly couple during their evacuation from a facility in SC.

By Saturday morning, it had already dumped more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain, a record for North Carolina. In South Carolina there were 7,000 people staying in shelters.

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