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

Hurricane Florence: 16 dead but 'worst is still to come'

Hurricane Florence: 16 dead but 'worst is still to come'

Police officers help civilians push a stranded motorist out of the flood water near downtown Lumberton.

-23-year-old Michael Dalton Prince died Sunday after the truck he was riding in lost control on a flooded two-lane road in Georgetown County, South Carolina, said Coroner Kenny Johnson.

Authorities say the storm did not cause some other deaths that occurred during Florence in North Carolina: a woman who died of undetermined causes in a shelter, a woman who suffered a heart attack at home during the storm, and a couple whose apparent murder-suicide was investigated during hurricane conditions in Otway.

Florence also now stands as the sixth-highest tropical cyclone rainfall total across the US for records dating back to 1950.

Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, but North and SC were in the bull's-eye.

Much of eastern North Carolina had received 10 to 25 inches of rain, and more is expected, according to North Carolina authorities.

Downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical depression, Florence sneered its disdain for labels, dropping millions of gallons of rainwater and swelling rivers in North Carolina to potentially catastrophic levels.

On the forecast track, Florence's center Sunday will move across the western Carolinas and and then recurve over the Ohio Valley and Northeast United States on Monday and Tuesday.

Wilmington International Airport and Fort Macon suffered gusts of 105 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said.

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

Two people in a canoe paddle through a street that was flooded by Hurricane Florence north of New Bern, North Carolina USA.

North Carolina is confronting a spiralling crisis as tropical depression Florence slowly ravages the region, flooding cities, endangering communities from the coastline to the rugged mountains, and requiring many more than 1000 rescues.

"We have 4,200 damaged homes", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN. Some 15,000 people were huddled in hurricane shelters, while emergency rescues have plucked 900 from the water. Dozens of electric fix trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast. "They have not even begun (to crest)".

"As you can tell, they're not listening to me", he said. They included three who died "due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways", the Duplin County Sheriff's Office reported.

Additionally, a few tornadoes "remain possible" Sunday and Monday across North Carolina and eastern SC.

By Sunday morning Florence's winds had dropped to about 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour), the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

President Donald Trump tweeted late Saturday that "five deaths have been recorded thus far", and expressed sympathy to the victims' families.

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