Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Florence poses 'catastrophic' flood threat; at least 7 killed

Florence poses 'catastrophic' flood threat; at least 7 killed

Firefighters and rescue crews in Wilmington, North Carolina stopped to pray outside the house where a fallen tree killed a mother and her 8-month-old baby.

"Florence slowly weakening just inland over eastern SC but causing catastrophic flooding over North and SC", the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said early Saturday morning, after downgrading it from a hurricane to a tropical storm the previous day. The child's injured father was hospitalized.

A street light is downed on a flooded road as Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Wilmington, North Carolina, Friday.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11pm Friday about 20 kilometres west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge north of Wilmington in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 1.92 metres of inundation. Duke Energy expects between 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses to lose power.

Inland South Carolina likely has serious flooding to come, with waters already rising in communities such as Conway near Myrtle Beach - and some rivers may not crest for another three days.

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. The video left many wondering if the weatherman was faking his dramatic reaction to make the hurricane appear worse than it actually is. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.

Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.

Radar loop of Florence over the last 24 hours.

The other major supplier in southeast North Carolina - North Carolina Electric Cooperatives - recorded major outages extending 80 miles inland.

Hurricane Florence Drowned a Riverfront 30 Miles from the North Carolina Coast
The disaster area was expected to get about as much rain in three days as the 1999 Dennis and Floyd storms dropped in two weeks. Footage shows a pier and a beach in Nags Head, North Carolina, being hit with heavy surf as the storm rolls into the area.

A severe inland flood threat is emerging as remnants of Florence pound the Carolinas with almost nonstop rain for a second day since the once major hurricane howled ashore.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. The figure for SC was 170,000.

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, labelled the storm "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

The US National Weather Service has released a flash flood warning as authorities were scrambling to reach almost 150 people now stranded.

"We would like to be given at least 48 hours", Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Durham Herald-Sun around 5am that about 200 people had been rescued so far.

Florence will continue to move very slowly to the southwest on Saturday, which in turn will drag the axis of heavy rain bands to the southwest as well.

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