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

Hurricane Florence smashes into US East Coast, rescuers scramble

Hurricane Florence smashes into US East Coast, rescuers scramble

"I see the beach communities' being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic".

A hurricane's category only measures its wind speed, and Florence still has the potential to cause catastrophic damage thanks to heavy rains and storm surges.

It just barely has Category 1 hurricane strength with top sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water, and more than 460,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the country's electrical grid.

Another woman who was rescued by another group in New Bern told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" that she and her family thought they would be safe in their brick home and heard the storm had been downgraded from a Category 4.

Swift-water rescue teams from out of state helped local rescuers evacuate people whenever conditions allowed.

"We've had it reported to where it's over mailboxes, to the stairs of homes, even at first, second floors to where people are having to get on their roofs". "I would say certain areas of New Bern are very desperate", ABC reported.

Though Florence did not arrive with winds as violent as once feared, forecasters got the storm surge and rainfall correct. The record was set by Hurricane Helene in 1958 with 135 miles per hour.

Volunteers rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes in New Bern.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.

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Florence is expected to slowly move west-southwest through early Saturday.

It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

"There is still time, but not a lot of time", said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to Cape Hatteras, NC, and the Pamlico Sound.

"What we're seeing. of course we have floods, storm surge, wind", Parker says.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington on Friday morning, battering the coastal city with strong winds and torrential rain.

The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia could see 5 to 10 inches, with some isolated areas seeing 15 inches.

Florence is now a tropical depression, but still remains risky.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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