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

Florence turns deadly, inundates Carolinas with 'historic' rainfall

Florence turns deadly, inundates Carolinas with 'historic' rainfall

Florence crashed into the Carolina coast on Friday, felling trees, dumping almost three feet (0.91 m) of rain on some spots and leading to the deaths of at least four people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. The child's injured father was taken to hospital. In the state's Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths. Officials also said one person was electrocuted in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator in the rain, and a man died after being blown to the ground while checking on his hunting dogs. Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain by Friday night with more torrents on the way.

But more than 140 people are still waiting to be helped.

Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street. "My wife's in a panic right now".

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's getting worse", Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event".

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday.

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The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7.15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kmph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

High tides in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday will be mid-afternoon and again early Saturday morning. As forecasters warned the hurricane could lead to potentially catastrophic flooding.

Parts of the Carolinas are expected to see 20 to 30 inches of rain over the next seven days.

Heavy flooding hit several communities at some stage in North Carolina, along with Belhaven, Jacksonville and Wilmington.Authorities ordered larger than 1.7 million people to evacuate the mumble ahead of the storm this week.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting Tuesday in the White House on hurricane preparations as FEMA administrator Brock Long points on a graphic to the potential track of Hurricane Florence. Trump plans a visit to the region next week. The storm is moving west at 5 miles per hour and a slow westward movement will continue across extreme eastern SC through Saturday. Gradual weakening is expected overnight and significant weakening is expected this weekend into next week as the storm moves farther inland.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Mangkhut has begun pummelling northern areas of the Philippines carrying wind gusts reaching 270kph.

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