Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Florence weakens to tropical storm, leaves at least five dead

Florence weakens to tropical storm, leaves at least five dead

New Bern, the city on the North Carolina coast where the Neuse River and Trent River intersect, was reeling Friday after being inundated from flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding.

Outlaw said he declared a 24-hour curfew early Friday due to continuing flooding and numerous downed trees and power lines. The Ahold Delhaize USA chain said on its website that it has temporarily shut 126 stores in North Carolina, 53 in SC and four in Virginia.

The Cajun Navy, a rescue team formed after Katrina, scoured the small town of New Bern for victims when overnight flooding sent residents to their attics and rooftops. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:15 am (1115 GMT) in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the Carolina coast for days.

With one grueling day behind them, the Carolinas on Friday grappled with rising water and cascading misery from a deadly and agonizingly slow-moving Tropical Storm Florence expected to linger through the weekend.

"I about jumped out of my skin", he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday morning.

"People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this". The storm was a unsafe Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 storm.

Hurricane Florence closes in on Carolinas
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.


"Hurricanes normally come in and they go inland, which sucks the power out of them as they go over the land", he said.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center. More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest Universitys basketball arena. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man perished when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

"Heavy rain has been occurring in and around Oriental, North Carolina, where 20.37 inches of rainfall has been measured thus far", the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water.

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

About 70 people were pulled from a motel near Camp LeJeune at the height of the storm as the roof started to collapse.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.

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