Hurricane Florence causes 'catastrophic' flooding after hitting USA coast

Terry Joseph
September 16, 2018

WIND: Tropical storm conditions will continue through Saturday morning in portions of the warning area along the coast and also over large portions of eastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC, with tropical storm force wind gusts spreading well inland.

It added the greatest threats to life came from storm-surges while "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" was expected, with some areas receiving up to 40 inches of rainfall.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power Friday morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

"The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it. made landfall 24 hours ago", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour (34 kph) on Friday morning in Columbia. The storm will then turn northward across western North Carolina and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

The eye of the storm reached Wrightsville Beach, several miles east of Wilmington, at around 7:15 a.m. eastern time (1215 GMT), with the estimated maximum wind of 150 km/h.

Hurricane Florence is thrashing the Carolina coast with devastating flooding and hurricane-force winds.

More than 100 people were waiting to be rescued from homes and vehicles Friday morning in New Bern, N.C., after Hurricane Florence brought severe flooding to the area.

Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

Forecasters have warned of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding" in North and SC.

A woman reacts after a large tree fell on a house in Wilmington N.C. as Hurricane Florence hit the area Friday. One man was taken out of the home in critical condition
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Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the area. A storm surge of more than nine feet is expected to be caused from the hurricane, covering cars, street signs and homes. "And it's basically a big hole and water did go into that hole, but we are safe in this facility".

Among the dead were a mother and her infant child, who were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, after a tree fell on their house, police said.

Roberts says they're hearing from New Bern residents who were evacuated to an emergency shelter in Sandford earlier this week. She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.

Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said. When Florence started battering eastern North Carolina with record rainfall, the Neuse and Trent rivers began to swell - and combined with high tide, made for unsafe flooding.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.

Roberts, the city spokeswoman, said Friday preliminary estimates show about 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged.

The storm surge that has hit New Bern is "approximately 2 feet higher" now than it was during Hurricane Irene seven years ago, the National Weather Service office in Morehead City says.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to at least five.

"We're on our way, we will get you rescued", Outlaw said while cautioning that first responders have to be careful of their own safety. Florence's landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - is likely to happen midmorning Friday, CNN forecasters said.

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