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

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence rolled ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday.

More than 60 others had to be rescued as a cinderblock motel collapsed.

WCTI, the ABC affiliate in New Bern, was on-air with its meteorologists when the crew announced that their building was flooding, forcing the crew to evacuate.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

A rush of ocean water invaded the streets on the southern end of North Carolina's Hatteras Island on Thursday, according to The Virginian-Pilot's Jeff Hampton, who said arterial roads were at risk of being impassable after water overwhelmed the dunes.

Despite the drop in wind strength, the most unsafe threat comes from Florence's rains and storm surge, which could bring flooding far inland.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Another Wilmington resident said she did not want to leave because she was afraid to see what she would come back to after the storm.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

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A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore. Helene is expected to then weaken and poses no threat to the United States, as of the center's 8 a.m. advisory.

A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina.

- 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.

With many employees at risk, Novartis said it has temporarily stopped pharmaceutical production at their Wilson, North Carolina site.

Long said people in storm-damaged areas need to "get their mindset right.

Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", the hurricane center briefing said.

In South Carolina, a shelter at Goose Creek High School in Charleston County was similarly full by Thursday night. "I've got four cats inside the house".

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Hurricane Florence claimed its first victims Friday afternoon, when two people died after a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina, police said.

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