First deaths reported from Hurricane Florence after Wilmington home collapses

15 September, 2018, 08:13 | Author: Dominic Spencer
  • HURRICANE FLORENCE

Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 miles per hour, and it's at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 miles per hour.

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and SC - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, city officials posted photos of toppled gas pumps and a downed trees early Friday, warning residents to take shelter and avoid roadways. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others". Those numbers will only rise as the slow-moving storm hovers over the region through at least Saturday (Sept. 15), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles, the hurricane center said.

Ken Graham, the NHC's director, warned the slow pace of the storm exacerbated its danger even to areas outside its immediate path.

As of 1 p.m. ET, more than a foot of rain had fallen in many towns in southeastern North Carolina.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as one metre in some places.

The No. 1 mission right now, Cooper said, is to save lives.

In New Bern, where a curfew was in place, city authorities said hundreds of people had been rescued from homes inundated with water. There are about 150 people waiting to be rescued.


"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with winds that have decreased significantly to 100 miles per hour.

Municipal power agencies are reporting few outages, except New Bern, which had 17,820 customers without power, according to ElectriCities, the organization that supports the local power agencies. New Bern police urged anyone who needs assistance or know of people who need assistance to call 911 operators and give specific details, like the person's name, location and possible phone numbers.

Forecasters are predicting that the storm will continue to weaken but still dump potentially record-breaking amounts of rain as it moves slowly inland. Through noon Friday, 96 stores in the Carolinas and one in Virginia were closed because of the storm.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

"More people die from storm surge than any proponent of hurricanes", Kottlowsk tells TIME. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

She said: "We're not only looking at a lot of rain for days but also hurricane-force winds that are going to last for the better part of today".

After creeping inland, Florence is expected to head west before looping up toward Tennessee and Kentucky early next week.

The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

He added that around 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters throughout the area.

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