Science

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows”

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

Picture of Hurricane Florence taken by astronaut Ricky Arnold from the International Space Station.

A mother and a baby were the storm's first victims, who were killed Friday when a tree collapsed on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Photos and videos from around the region, and particularly North Carolina, showed the power that Florence contained as it came ashore, leading to rescues across the area.

On Saturday some residents tried to return home, driving through flooded highways armed with chainsaws to clear fallen pine trees that covered the road.

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

"Remember: Most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars", he said.

"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.

"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".

Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches of rain by Friday night, and forecasters warned on Saturday morning that parts of the Carolinas could get up to 15 inches more.

The storm dropped 10 to 18 inches of rain along the North Carolina coast. About 400 people have been rescued.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 840,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

"Some of our beloved bears have wandered away", city officials tweeted next to a picture of the statue.

Florence already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds, and the threat is days from ending as remnants of the once major hurricane slowly creep inland across the Carolinas. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack after paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 964,000 customers in that state and SC.

The White House said President Trump had issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina a day earlier, freeing up funds for housing and home fix.

At 8 pm EDT (0000 GMT), the National Hurricane Center said Florence had maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour, and was slowly drifting westward over SC.

Among those volunteers was the Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue organization formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Florence's eye made landfall over the Wrightsville Beach water tower about 7:15 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wilmington.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".



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