Hurricane Florence Dumps 'Epic Amounts of Rainfall' On US States

Gwen Vasquez
September 17, 2018

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of unsafe storm surges and "catastrophic flooding".

At least seven people were killed as hurricane Florence made landfall in the U.S. state of North Carolina, battering the state with a powerful combination of wind and rain.

Rescuers are working hastily to save those caught in rising flood waters as thousands of people living near North Carolina's rising rivers were ordered to evacuate Saturday. Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the Sutton Plant and that contaminated storm water likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).

Onslow county, located about 50 miles to the northeast of Wilmington, has been hit particularly hard.

- Clouds and humid conditions are expected to give way to more sunshine from north to south over the weekend as drier air works its way into the area. The county has a population of 325,000, about 20,000 in the riverfront county seat of Conway. Winds and rains from Hurricane Florence caused the Neuse River to swell, swamping the coastal city. While the amount is unofficial, it would shatter the old record of 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Officials in North Myrtle Beach, where some flooding was occurring, did report some delays in their 911 emergency system, according to a news release, but their public safety personnel are still out in the community.

It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina. It continues to chug west, slowing down from 5 miles per hour to 2 miles per hour.

There were 974,000 homes in the Carolinas without power on Saturday morning.

150 people trapped by Florence floodwaters in New Bern, NC

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". One model even shows the potential for an additional 30 inches, although that may be overdone.

A tornado watch was issued for eastern North Carolina.

The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.

Flooding and downed trees have blocked numerous roads from the Roanoke and New River Valleys southward to the North Carolina state line.

Flooding concerns extend beyond the coast of North Carolina as well.

The Navy says nearly 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return.

But it still brought torrential rain.

Officials at the National Weather Service continue to keep a watchful eye on the remnants of Hurricane Florence, as the heaviest preciptation looks to move through portions of southwest and southside Virginia tonight and early Monday morning. Determining the role climate change plays in storms like Florence and Mangkhut is complicated, experts tell the AP. However, as US Presidents Trump says, "fake news".

Rescues were underway even as Florence's heavy rains and winds continued to batter the region.

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