Wilmington: A community cut off after 'terrifying' storm

Muriel Hammond
September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers.

Officials are warning that the worst of the storm may still be yet to come, as catastrophic flooding inundates the Carolinas coast.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said.

The Swansboro total is the most for any tropical storm or hurricane north of Florida along the East Coast and represents a new two-day and three-day rainfall record for North Carolina.

The deadly storm still had abundant rain and top winds around 30 miles per hour, and forecasters said it was expected to turn toward the Northeast, which is in for as much as 4 inches of rain, before the system moves offshore again.

Homes along the New River are flooded as a result of high tides and rain from hurricane Florence which moved through the area in Jacksonville, N.C., Sunday.

"There's mud all over the floor and the wood floors have buckled", she said, adding they planned to return to her brother's house because of the musty smell that pervades their home.

-30-year-old Rhonda R Hartley died early on Sunday after driving a pickup truck into standing water near Gilbert, South Carolina, losing control and hitting a tree, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

A 3-month-old baby boy whose North Carolina mobile home was split by a falling pine tree is among at least 20 deaths linked to Florence.

Major flooding has made roads impassable thoughout New Hanover County, and some 600 roads in the state were under water on Sunday, including a huge stretch of I-95 from north of Fayetteville north to USA 64. Police guarded the door of one store, and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time.

Large segments of the major corridor also were closed in North Carolina, making north-south travel subject to long detours.

Freelance journalist Marcus DiPaola tweeted that he helped rescue six dogs in Leland, North Carolina, after they were left locked in an outdoor cage.


Now downgraded to a tropical depression, the remnants of Hurricane Florence are still lashing the Carolinas with flooding rains.

- A man who drowned in an overturned vehicle on a flooded road in Georgetown County, South Carolina. River forecasts showed that the scene could be repeated in towns as far as 250 miles inland as waters rise for days.

Of those deaths, 13 took place in North Carolina and five in SC.

Fresh evacuations were ordered further inland as rivers crested and spilled out of their banks.

"Our city has suffered obviously one of the most devastating storms in its 308 year history", New Bern city manager Mark Stephens said at a news conference Monday.

"A lot of people have evacuated already", said Denise Harper, a resident of Grifton, a small North Carolina town threatened by rising water levels in a nearby creek and the River Neuse.

"I have everything I need for my whole family", said Merlos.

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

Two men pulling a kayak pick up a gas canister as they walk across a road flooded by Hurricane Florence in Pollocksville, North Carolina, on September 16, 2018.

Woody White, the New Hanover county commission chair, said officials were planning for food and water to be flown into the coastal city.

More than 450 people had to be rescued from swirling flood water over the weekend.

"As you can tell, they're not listening to me", he said.

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