Florence's 'violent grind' leaves at least four dead in Carolinas

Gwen Vasquez
September 16, 2018

Eight months of rain will fall on North and SC in three days, forecasters have warned, as Hurricane Florence crawls towards the east coast of the United States.

As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

"Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the centre of the storm".

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding.

It's expected to move inland at southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

Farther south, in Carolina Beach, the northern end of the town was being swamped as water crashed over the dunes.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker.

Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School.

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

"But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".

More news: Tropical bands from Florence begin lashing Carolinas

As of late Thursday, the hurricane center said Florence was 95 kilometers southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, with top sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (90 mph). Its forward movement increased slightly to 9 km/h Hurricane-force winds extended 150km from its centre.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the NHC said.

Hurricane Florence is on a path of destruction that will put millions of people at risk and threaten billions of dollars in property damage, centered on the Carolinas. From a large gray conference room in the center, they have monitored the path of the storm, coordinated with local partners to open shelters and evacuate residents, mobilized first responders, hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.

"If you're going to leave. you should leave now because time is running out", McMaster said.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.

At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies.

Almost 1.8million people have been ordered to evacuate from coastal areas.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm. A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia - as well as the U.S. capital Washington.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however. Gen. Robert Livingston. "While that rain is still coming down for a couple of days, one to two days later you're going to have stuff coming from North Carolina and things coming in from the Upstate". A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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