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

Deadly Florence trudges inland in Carolinas with 'epic' rain, flooding

It is now a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore. "Many people who think the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat".

Having already drawn widespread criticism from members of his own party earlier this week for a claim made without evidence that the death toll was ginned up by Democrats in order to slime him, Trump once again tried to cast doubt on the estimated 2,975 killed by Hurricane Maria in the US territory.

Areas like New Bern also could see an additional 3 to 5 feet of storm surge as high tide combines with the seawater still being pushed ashore by Florence, Graham said. Rivers will continue to rise days after the rain has stopped, he said.

The storm has killed five so far, and officials expect the death toll to rise. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders.

John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile from the river.

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". Ponds had begun to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway churned with muddy, brown water.

In Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 on North Carolina's Atlantic coastline, along the Cape Fear River that is home to historic mansions, streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris. The number of counties getting this level of help is likely to increase.

"Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood", said Governor Roy Cooper.

As of 8 p.m., Florence was centered about 65 miles (100 kilometers) east-southeast of Columbia, the SC capital, crawling west at 2 mph (4 kph) - not even as fast as a person walking. Its winds were down to 40 miles per hour.

In North Carolina, the city of New Bern was particularly hard hit. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'
Direct deaths include such fatalities as drownings in a storm surge or being crushed in a wind-toppled building. The president wrote in a tweet, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico ".

If Florence doesn't wipe out oceanfront homes on stilts along the Carolinas coast, rising sea levels will. Florence lashed low-lying barrier islands that experience some of the fastest rates of sea level rise observed anywhere in the world, almost an inch (2.5 centimeters) a year.

They have made clear that this event is all about the water - which the storm has delivered in devastating quantity.

The coal-fired Sutton plant was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating millions of tons of ash from old waste pits and removing it to safer lined landfills constructed on the property. The ash left behind when coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said.

Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs. The city tweeted early September 14 that 150 people were awaiting rescue.

The Marines rescued about 20 civilians from floodwaters near Camp Lejeune, using Humvees and amphibious assault vehicles, the base reported.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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