Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

"The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said.

Parts of New Bern, North Carolina, which is home to 30,000 people, were 10ft (3m) underwater on Friday.

Craven County, where New Bern is located, had logged more than 100 service calls from residents trapped on their roofs or in their cars, county spokeswoman Amber Parker said.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would travel to the region next week unless his trip would disrupt clean-up and rescue efforts.

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

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week. While it had weakened significantly since peaking as a Category 5 storm in the Atlantic, the heavy rain bands and slow movement have caused catastrophic flooding and storm surge along the coast.

Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including over 8,000 from Duke's Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities.

"I had a lot of fear initially but I'm glad to be inside and safe", said Zelda Allen, 74, a retired tax accountant from Hampstead, North Carolina, who was riding out the storm at Wilmington's Hotel Ballast with her husband. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

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Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from its center.

The storm is nearly at a standstill over southeastern North Carolina.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling ABC News' David Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

"NOAA Doppler weather radar data and surface observations indicate that the center of Hurricane Florence has continued to move slowly westward toward the North Carolina-South Carolina border", the weather agency said.

The storm is expected to track across SC over the weekend.

In Bayboro, North Carolina, one of the areas under evacuation, resident Kim Dunn stayed behind. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however. As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go".

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

U.S. officials say it remains extremely unsafe because of the risks posed by catastrophic flooding.

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