Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

12 dead as Florence leaves heavy flooding in Carolinas

12 dead as Florence leaves heavy flooding in Carolinas

As the giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane pounded away, it unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Hurricane Florence has barrelled into the Carolina coast and moved inland, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

Whether residents left their homes, sought refuge in a shelter or are hunkering down, the weather service has bad news: After creeping inland, Florence "is expected to slow down even more today and tonight".

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages.

Wilmington, North Carolina, recorded wind gusts as high as 105 miles per hour, where a mother and her 8-month-old infant were confirmed dead after being crushed when a tree fell onto the house they were in, according to ABC News.

The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the father was transported to a hospital for treatment. Family members found the man's body, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services.

Governor Cooper said half a million customers in North Carolina were without power and it could take weeks for it to be fully restored.

What is the latest on the storm?

Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday with 90-mph (144 kph) winds, torrential rains and a powerful storm surge before slowing to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

The storm surge has already put some communities underwater. Florence dumped more than 20 inches on Oriental, N.C., the NHC said.

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A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.

The hurricane has moved at only 3-6 miles per hour on Friday, increasing the effect of its torrential rains.

Hurricane Harvey a year ago dumped some 33 trillion gallons of rainwater in the US.

Nearly 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Flooding has already started in North Carolina and, according to the Washington Post, over 100 are already stranded and in need of rescue.

Several hundred people have been plucked to safety by authorities in the riverfront city.

Local resident Peggy Perry told CNN she was "stuck in the attic" along with three relatives.

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