Storm chaser records Florence battering Carolina coast

Muriel Hammond
September 17, 2018

Winds have dropped to about 65 kmh since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane and it is crawling west over two states at 9 kmh, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said early on Sunday.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday, knocking down trees, swamping streets and causing four deaths before slowing to a pace that will lead to a dayslong deluge for the region.

"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Hurricane Florence is "wreaking havoc" along the United States coast and could wipe out entire communities, North Carolina's governor has warned.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 mph, just barely a hurricane, but the storm itself had slowed to a crawl as it traced the North Carolina-South Carolina shoreline, punishing coastal communities for hours on end.

In one incident, a mother, 41, and her 7-month-old son were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

"We've been through hurricanes here but we've never had it come anywhere close to this", she said. I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth.

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. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

The death toll rose to at least 15 from Florence, which crashed into the state as a hurricane on Friday, bringing record rainfall. "Feels great. The water's really cool". More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centres were moved out of the storm's path. Other communities got well over a foot.

North Carolina is bracing for what could be the next stage of the still-unfolding disaster: widespread, catastrophic river flooding from Florence.

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

As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups were monitoring the threat from very big hog and poultry farms located in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate months that followed.

The most rain so far from Florence was 33.9 inches (86 cm) in Swansboro, North Carolina, a new record for a single hurricane in the state.

Picture the entire state of Texas covered with roughly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water: that's Florence's rainfall forecast over a week.

Meteorolgists said Florence might drop as much as 18 trillion gallons of rain before it's through, enough to cover Manhattan with 3,800 cubic feet of water, more than twice as high as the World Trade Center.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses. The tree was about six feet above the road and the car's roof hit the tree.

At the Wilmington airport, the wind was measured at 105 miles per hour - the highest since 1958, Cooper said. Almost 2 million Americans live within a mile of the most at-risk sites.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".

Damage to homes in her neighborhood was "horrible", she said. "It'll be ugly, but we'll get through it", Mr.

"We have a house that was destroyed in Irma", Griffin said.

All of the occupants, who included children and pets, were safely rescued.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

"Any direction you try coming into the city, from 20 to 40 miles out, roads are impassable", Mayor Bill Saffo said.

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