Monday, 22 October, 2018

Hurricane Florence smashes into US East Coast, rescuers scramble

Hurricane Florence Is Dumping a Huge Amount of Rain on the Carolinas Florence made landfall this morning along the South Carolina North Carolina border. Credit NOAA
Theresa Hayes | 16 September, 2018, 22:58

Over 60 people had to be pulled out of a collapsing motel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and hundreds were saved as water levels rose.

Scores of trees and power lines had fallen on roads throughout Wilmington as of Friday afternoon.

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

"To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place", he said at a news conference in Raleigh, adding that Florence would "continue its violent grind across the state for days".

Coastal and river communities on the north side of Florence are getting the worst of the flooding as the hurricane swirls onto land pushing a life-threatening storm surge.

"A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house".

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

The reports came just hours after Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am local time (11:30 GMT) at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, as the centre of its eye moved onshore, the National Hurricane Center said. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Emergency officials warned residents that the peril had probably not passed, as the storm continued to dump torrential rain. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared".

The NWS predicted Florence could drop up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days.

By Friday morning, Florence had caused a storm surge of 10 feet (3 meters) above normal levels in Morehead City, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said. Other communities got well over a foot.

Hurricane Florence has killed a mother and child in North Carolina.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.

In North and SC was energized more than 620 thousand households. Rainfall of up to 20 to 40 inches could fall over the next five days in some areas, forecasters say.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses. On Friday afternoon it was traveling at just 3 to 5 miles per hour, still near the coast. Duke Energy said late Friday that it anticipates 1 million to 3 million outages in the Carolinas, and that full power restoration could take weeks.

Kathy Griffin was hunkering down Friday in a hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband.

As Florence raged, a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico brought heavy rain to already saturated areas along the Texas coast, resulting in street flooding and prompting some schools to cancel or cut short classes.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the New Bern authorities said on Twitter.

Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

"If you seek to prey upon the citizens of Brunswick County, we're going to do everything we can to lock you up", Ingram warned.

"Houses. Trees", Holt said.

A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

Flooding caused by Hurricane Florence covers blocks of Front Street in downtown New Bern on Friday.