Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

As Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, continued to chart a path of destruction across North and SC on Saturday, school gymnasiums morphed into makeshift shelters for thousands of people displaced from their homes in nearby flood-prone areas.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday (September 15), then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

Homes and roads have been utterly submerged by the barrage of rain caused by the remnants of hurricane Florence - now a tropical storm.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned Saturday that the volume of rainwater Florence will drop in the coming days may cause flooding not seen at least in a generation.

"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.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

The storm has already dumped up to 15 inches more on the Carolinas this morning.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been lashed by torrential rains and near-hurricane force winds, CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reported.

Florence made landfall on the East Coast Friday morning with wind speeds of 195 miles per hour. The storm is expected to turn west and then north moving through the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said early on Saturday.

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Trump, who plans a visit to the region next week, tweeted his "deepest sympathies and warmth" to the families and friends of those who had lost their lives.

In Lenoir County, North Carolina a person died while plugging in a generator.

Further south on Ocracoke Island, power was back up and there were no reports of serious structural damage, Hyde County spokesman Donnie Shumate said. He warned that rivers continue to rise after the heaviest rains have fallen.

The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house, while a sixth fatality occurred in SC. Storm surges, flash floods and winds have spread destruction widely and the Marines, the Coast Guard and volunteers have used boats, helicopters, and heavy-duty vehicles to conduct hundreds of rescues as of Saturday.

What do we know of the victims?

The first units were expected to come online early next week in New Bern and Washington, North Carolina, according to Jack Frazier, the Baptist Men's disaster relief co-ordinator.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out as the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

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