Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hurricane Florence battering North and SC

Hurricane Florence battering North and SC

Heavy rain, wind gusts and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf.

At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher.

Reports said coastal streets in North Carolina were flooded and winds bent trees to the ground as the storm, which has been downgraded several times in recent days, weakened and is slower moving than before, prepared to make landfall Friday.

More than 60 people had to be evacuated from a motel at risk of collapse in Jacksonville.

Anxiety also reigned Saturday in Lumberton, a North Carolina city that was submerged for days after 2016's Hurricane Matthew.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. "A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house", police tweeted Friday afternoon.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the eye of Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 am ET with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Florence has lost a bit of steam as it starts to move inlands and winds are down to maximum gusts of 75 miles per hour. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. He then leaves the studio and leaves a radar of Florence's rain bands playing on a loop. Some areas of North Carolina saw nearly a foot of rain just a few hours, and footage showed sea levels begin to surge in land. Other communities got well over a foot (30 centimetres).

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The center of Florence is forecast to move further inland across southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.

Storm clouds are seen over the 2nd ave pier as the force of Hurricane Florence is beginning to be felt on September 14, 2018 in Myrtle Beach, United States.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. Forecasters warned of "catastrophic" freshwater flooding along the Carolinas.

Staff at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio after roads around the building began flooding. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

A gust of 105 miles per hour (169 kph) was recorded at the Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

More than 24 hours after Florence caused major flooding in New Bern, N.C., the city announced that all people who needed rescuing had reached safety. We were forced to have conversations with these people and say hey, do you by chance live in a two-story home?

Sixty-seven-year-old Sadie Marie Holt was among those rescued Friday. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued by boat from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sgt. Johan Mackie, whose team used a phone app to locate people in distress.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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