Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Official Describes Hurricane Florence Rescue Efforts In Hard-Hit New Bern, North Carolina

Official Describes Hurricane Florence Rescue Efforts In Hard-Hit New Bern, North Carolina

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

The Category 1 storm has maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and is moving slowly, at 6 miles per hour.

The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.

An onlooker checks out the heavy surf at the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.

As of 8 a.m. EDT it was centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 220 miles (355 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 12 mph (20 kph).

"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. WTOP's Steve Dresner, who is in Morehead City, North Carolina, described the scene just after 10 p.m. Thursday: "I'm looking out a fourth floor balcony back to the center of Morehead City, and the lights are out".

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out.

"There were a couple of points when I was kind of questioning my decisions in life", he said on Friday after a harrowing night of whipping winds and soaking rain as Florence bullied across the North Carolina coast.

About 400 Virginians are in shelters, Stern estimated.

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Florence, set to make landfall on Friday, was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told reporters.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.

Tropical Storm Isaac is now moving across the eastern Caribbean Sea.

The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

News10NBC will continue to track this storm, be sure to download the News10NBC Weather App to get notifications sent right to your phone.

Forecasters predict as much as 101 centimeters (40 inches) of rain for some parts of North Carolina and storm surges as high as 4 meters - taller than many houses.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 1. The agency is also warning people in the evacuation areas to leave stating that "This is not going to be a glancing blow".

The agency's reputation suffered past year following its lagging response to Hurricane Maria.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night in the USA behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

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