Photos: 7 dead in catastrophic flooding as Florence hovers over U.S.


Hurricane Florence 100
High winds and water surround buildings as Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, hits Front Street in downtown Swansboro, North Carolina, Sept. 14, 2018.

In Summary

  • The storm's slow movement, not its strength, is what worries forecasters and officials.
  • Florence is moving inland at four kilometers per hour - giving it more time to bring massive amounts of rain inland.
  • Hundreds of people in North Carolina have been rescued from rising water.

At least seven people are dead and almost a million homes and businesses are without power this Saturday as tropical storm Florence plods along over a portion of the southeastern coast of the U.S.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm continues to cause “catastrophic flooding” in North and South Carolina.

In addition, the center said tornadoes are possible on Saturday in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence is an “uninvited brute” who could wipe out entire communities.

 

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, say a mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their house.

Another woman died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

Another man died when he was knocked down by high winds while checking on his dogs.

The center said Florence is moving slowly inland with maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour and higher gusts. By Saturday morning, the storm was moving slowly across eastern South Carolina.

Florence is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Saturday night and gradually weaken further as it moves inland over the next few days.

The storm’s slow movement, not its strength, is what worries forecasters and officials.

Florence is moving inland at four kilometers per hour – giving it more time to bring massive amounts of rain inland.

Hundreds of people in North Carolina have been rescued from rising water. Authorities say they received more than 150 telephone calls to rescue people in the historic town of New Bern alone because water had entered their homes.

The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters of rain for some parts of North Carolina.

 

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

“I feel like the dumbest human being who has ever walked the face of the earth,” he said.

New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones.

“The evacuation was countywide, but since we’re not in a flood zone, we weren’t really worried about that,” she told VOA.

 

“The way our house sits, it’s elevated. We have steps on the sides of the house so it’s a few feet off the ground anyway. And since we’re already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others,” she said.

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.

The White House on Friday said U.S. President Donald Trump will travel to areas hit by Hurricane Florence next week, once it has been determined that his travel would not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.

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