Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
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Running Out Of Cots, North Carolina Shelters Strained As Florence Hits

Running Out Of Cots, North Carolina Shelters Strained As Florence Hits

Authorities have confirmed those storm-related deaths, including a mother and her infant child who died after a tree fell on their home in New Hanover County, where the storm hit Friday morning with a 105 miles per hour wind gust, the strongest wind in the city since 1958. The infant's father was also injured in the incident and transported to hospital.

Duke Energy said in a tweet that they anticipate between 1 to 3 million outages across the Carolinas, adding that restoration in the hardest-hit communities could take weeks.

The hurricane came ashore early on Friday, pounding the state with torrential rain and high winds.

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches of rain, the US Geological Survey said, while more than 25 inches have fallen in the Newport, Morehead City area since Thursday.

Hurricane Florence is ravaging the US East Coast, knocking out power to half a million homes, causing buildings to crumble and stranding residents.

"Rescue workers are working in risky conditions that will only get worse today", said Cooper, who called the storm a "1,000-year rain event" for parts of southeastern North Carolina.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2:30 a.m. "Nothing you need to get a chain saw after yet", he said by phone.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3½ feet as the storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.

Florence "is twice the size of Hurricane Hugo", which tore through the Carolinas in 1989, New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told "GMA".

"This is an uninvited brute that just won't leave", he told NBC.


"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

The weather event has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but forecasters still warn of life-threatening storm surges.

Florence's eyewall reached shore near Wilmington, N.C., just before 6 a.m. ET Friday; more than an hour later, the National Hurricane Center announced, it had "finally" made landfall near Wrightsville Beach.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely unsafe situation and it's getting worse", Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event". "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said.

Some of the worst flooding was in the town of New Bern, where many residents were trapped in their water-logged homes. North Carolina's Newport and Morehead City have seen about 19 inches of rain so far.

More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.

The National Hurricane Center says the tempest remains extremely risky because of the high volume of rainfall and predicted storm surges, even though its wind speeds lowered slightly on Thursday night, making it a category one hurricane. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", Cooper said.

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