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

Hurricane Florence makes landfall, set to deluge Carolinas

Hurricane Florence makes landfall, set to deluge Carolinas

More than 100 people were rescued and up to 75 more were awaiting rescue on Saturday morning, according to a town official.

Florence is still a unsafe storm and is linked to at least five deaths so far.

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, more than 2ft of rain had fallen in places, with forecasters saying there could be an additional one-and-a-half feet by the end of the weekend. Maximum sustained winds remained at 50 miles per hour (80 kph). "Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into southwest Virginia through early next week". Storm totals could reach between 30 and 40 inches in some areas.

The White House declared a major disaster in the state and said Donald Trump would visit storm-affected areas next week.

Forecasters have warned that storm Florence could still bring catastrophic flooding, describing it as a "one thousand year event".

The death toll is seven and is expected to rise.

"Gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by tonight", the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Saturday morning.

"Two people in Wilmington were killed when a tree fell on their home", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told WCNC. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others", she said.

This is the freaky moment a TV weatherman appeared to be caught faking his battle against gale-force winds during Storm Florence. Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed hotel.

Roads became flooded, trees blown over and homes destroyed as some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges of flood water as high as 10ft. An estimated 772,000 people remained without power in North Carolina, 172,000 in SC.

A mother and her eight-month-old baby were killed Friday when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from police in Wilmington, N.C. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment.

10M in crosshairs of Hurricane ‘Florence’
Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington , and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

U.S. media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.

"I actually think it is one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about", Trump said on Monday. "The house is shaking back and forth much more violently than when the eyewall came through".

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. The storm is some 645 kilometres wide.

The NHC said Florence went ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. EDT with estimated maximum winds of 90 miles per hour.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, however, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

- Authorities in the coastal city of New Bern were working with federal responders to rescue at least 150 residents who reported themselves stranded in Hurricane Florence's storm surge.

"And we're not done yet", Graham said, adding that some hard-hit areas could get an additional 15 to 20 inches because the storm was moving so slowly.

Florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on United States soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.

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