Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

Forecasters fear that the coming days could bring the worst flooding in North Carolina's history as rivers swell towards record levels.

► Analytics firm CoreLogic says Florence could cost at least $170 billion in property loss.

Storm Florence weakened yesterday as it swept through the U.S. states of North and SC but dozens of communities are devastated and "epic" amounts of rain could still fall, officials said.

"The storm has never been more unsafe than it is right now", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference. "The Cape Fear, Lumber, Neuse, Yadkin, and portions of the Rocky River and the South Fork of the Catawba River, are still rising, and not expected to crest until later today, or tomorrow".

South Carolina's governor urged anyone in a flood-prone area to evacuate.

"As the storm begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear".

The storm killed at least 11 people in North Carolina, including a mother and child hit by a falling tree, state officials said.

More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.

North Carolina congressman discusses the response to Florence.

County commission chairman Woody White said officials were planning for food and water to be flown into the city. "As you can expect this is a significant setback at the hands of mother nature but we will prevail". Another boat was going back to get her husband, 4-year-old daughter and their pug dog.

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"There's mud all over the floor and the wood floors have buckled", she said, adding they planned to return to her brother's house because of the musty smell that pervades their home.

Several victims died on flooded roads.

"We still have no water and power, so I'm happy to help if I can, there's nothing else to do", he said.

"Any time you lose a child, your heart is broken, and we as police officers are no different", Capt. Brent Roberts told WBTV. The volunteer United Cajun Navy rescue group says it was helping in Leland, where about 200 people have made calls for help, after it made numerous rescues in Wilmington.

A high hazard classification means a failure could be likely to cause the loss of one or more human lives. "Don't make yourself someone who needs to be rescued". Many roads made impassable by the storm are still closed, including major highways to and from the coast. The whir of generators could be heard throughout the city, a sound not expected to dim soon as crews work to restore power. Statewide, as many as 1 million people were evacuated, The Asheville Citizen-Times reported. The previous record was 61cm, set by Hurricane Floyd, which killed 56 people in 1999, said Bryce Link, a meteorologist with forecasting service DTN Marine Weather.

Cooper warned residents throughout North Carolina to stay off the roads.

There were now 2,000 federal workers working on storm response, supporting state efforts, said Tom Fargione, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, during a press conference.

Deadly Hurricane Florence has weakened but authorities warn the danger is far from over, with swollen waterways threatening catastrophic flooding.

The storm had picked up some pace and was moving at 16kmh, up from 10kmh.

President Donald Trump said federal emergency workers, first responders and law enforcement officials were "working really hard".

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