More than 870,000 without power as Florence lumbers inland

Cesar Mills
September 16, 2018

The National Hurricane Center has revealed its latest projections for Tropical Storm Florence. It continues to chug west, slowing down from 5 miles per hour to 2 miles per hour.

A man attached to a respiratory machine sits in a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro, N.C., September 13, 2018.

"Honestly, I'm not sure" why some people refused to follow evacuation orders, David Cotton, county manager for North Carolina's Onslow County, told "Good Morning America" on Saturday.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge moved in for an extended stay along the coast. "This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".

Video posted on Twitter showed a meteorologist telling viewers they'd be taken to coverage from sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach.

Florence already has set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths. "We face walls of water at our coasts, along our rivers, across our farmland, in our cities and in our towns". Rain draining from upriver, especially from hard-hit North Carolina, will come down rivers such as the Waccamaw, which isn't expected to crest in Conway for another three to five days.

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.

In New Bern, along the coast, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers used inflatable boats to reach people.

Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal.

Saffo said it could be longer than two weeks before power is fully restored. Local media said she suffered a heart attack.

As of 6 a.m., Florence was centered just 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Storm chaser records Florence battering Carolina coast
Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts. But Florence's forward movement had slowed to a crawl, and it piled on the rain in a siege that could go on all weekend long.

Tropical Storm Florence's relentless rain is flooding parts of the Carolinas and promises even more for days, officials said Saturday, a day after it landed as a hurricane and left at least 13 people dead - including a baby.

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.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow less than an hour after the hurricane made landfall in North Carolina, Perry says "we've done this many times before. We know how to prepare our plants for these types of major events".

In Washington, President Donald Trump was briefed by telephone Saturday on Florence's impact.

Florence drove almost 1 million people from their homes and almost 700,000 lost power.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia. The eye moved from sea to land at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. But the storm was shaping up as a two-part disaster, with the second, delayed-action stage consisting of inland flooding, caused by rainwater working its way into rivers and streams.

In North Carolina, the city of New Bern was particularly hard hit.

The figure for SC was 170,000.

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect 5.2 million people.

With flood waters advancing rapidly in many communities, stranded people were being rescued by boat and by helicopter, while tens of thousands of others hunkered down in shelters.

Other reports by GizPress

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