Mother and child among first victims of Hurricane Florence
16 September, 2018, 20:44 | Author: Kelly Sanders
A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, N.C. after a tree fell on a house there while the Category 1 hurricane throttled the eastern North Carolina coastline Friday morning. The father received injuries and were hospitalized for medical care.
Later Friday, a wind gust of 68 miles per hour was measured at a station in Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.
Hurricane Florence is ravaging the US East Coast, knocking out power to half a million homes, causing buildings to crumble and stranding residents.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, more than 60 people were evacuated from a hotel after part of the roof collapsed, city officials said.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted earlier Friday.
"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.
More than 500,000 customers were without power, mostly in North Carolina, as the eye of Hurricane Florence went ashore near Wilmington and began its slow trek along the coast, according to poweroutage.us.
More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the coast would last for hours and hours because Florence had come nearly to a dead halt at just 3 mph (6 kph) as of midday.
The sixth Florence related death is also the first reported in South Carolina, according to both the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Union County Coroner's Office. On average, a hurricane will hit North Carolina once every five years. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".
"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state", Cooper said during a briefing on the Category 1 storm, which made landfall about 7:15 a.m. near Wrightsville Beach. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas. It started pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.
For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
Two people in Lenoir County were killed: a 78-year-old Kinston man who was electrocuted when connecting extension cords in the rain and a 77-year-old man who was blown down by the wind when he went to check on his hunting dogs.
"This hurricane is going to be with us for about two days", Gov. Henry McMaster said, noting that Hurricane Hugo moved through the state in a matter of hours.
The National Hurricane Center says the tempest remains extremely unsafe because of the high volume of rainfall and predicted storm surges, even though its wind speeds lowered slightly on Thursday night, making it a category one hurricane.
Griffin said she was jolted awake when the power went off at the hotel as some of the storm's strongest bands lashed Wilmington with wind and rain.
Elsewhere hundreds more had to be rescued from rising waters, with some residents having to climb up to their roofs to escape danger.
- City officials in one North Carolina community sent out an ominous tweet sometime around 2 a.m. Friday.
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