Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Four killed as Hurricane Florence swamps Carolinas

Four killed as Hurricane Florence swamps Carolinas

As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 115 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning. The child's injured father was taken to a hospital.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at 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.

Seventy people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.

Blowing ashore with howling 155 km/h winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster. In Craven County, New Bern's mayor says the town has seen historic flooding, with as much as 10 feet of water reported in some places. Harris Teeter, a Kroger Co. subsidiary, announced closings for 24 stores in North Carolina and 18 stores in SC.

New Bern resident Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch.

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

The massive system weakened into a tropical storm in the late afternoon but across the region, emergency officials warned that more water was yet to come, with cresting rivers and flash flooding fed by the unending rain.

Storm surges of up to six feet were forecast for Belhaven, North Carolina, where this video was recorded on the night of September 13.

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Video reports from several towns in the Carolinas showed emergency personnel wading through rippling thigh-high floodwaters in residential neighborhoods.

In the coming days, Florence's path and pace may cause it to send storm bands back over areas already hammered by heavy rain - what's known as training - dumping even more water and making conditions even more hazardous for both residents and rescuers.

Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland".

The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.

Dana Outlaw, the mayor of New Bern, North Carolina, said on Fox News Channel Friday that about 150 residents will need to be rescued after severe flooding from Hurricane Florence. But the hurricane had slowed to a crawl, drenching coastal communities for hours on end.

"I've been through hurricanes before", he says. According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday. "Just so you know that we are staying here to keep you up to date".

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

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