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

Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Investigators said the fire started as a result by a candle that was being used during a power outage.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958, the weather service said.

Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water. "Just so you know that we are staying here to keep you up to date". "I made sure ahead of time that we had adequate space for anybody that wanted to try that".

Hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds reached out 195 miles. "We were able to evacuate quite a few; some did not go", he said.

One city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches (58 centimetres) of rain in two days.

Along the coast, floodwaters have been hitting inland towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean.

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

Six swift water rescue teams have been working since Thursday afternoon to evacuate individuals and families, in some cases, from the roofs of their homes, the New Bern Public Information Officer Colleen Roberts said Friday afternoon. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".

Meanwhile in SC, more than 60 shelters accommodated over 5,600 people.

Hurricane Florence is ravaging the US East Coast, knocking out power to half a million homes, causing buildings to crumble and stranding residents.

The National Hurricane Center described Florence's path as a wobble around southeastern North Carolina.

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More than 20,000 people are meanwhile taking refuge in emergency shelters.

Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina, making landfall Friday morning with storm surges and wind gusts before contributing to at least five deaths.

Flood conditions will worsen through the relentless rainfall over the next couple days, officials warned.

Two people were killed in Lenoir County, according to Emergency Services Director Roger Dail during the storm.

The victims, who have not been named, are the first confirmed deaths directly related to the powerful Category 1 storm, Wilmington Police Department said.

The town of Oriental had taken more than 18 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge, while Surf City had 14 inches and it was still coming down.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril. It's since slowed down even more than it had been - moving west at just 2 miles per hour. She added that preliminary estimates show around 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged but emphasized that count is expected to increase significantly.

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

To prepare for this storm, businesses have been boarding up, and supplies have been readied for what is expected to be a large-scale relief operation. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's getting worse", Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event".

This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It came as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop. That advisory came out on August 30, when Florence was developing near the Cabo Verde Islands across the Atlantic. Florence has been a odd tropical cyclone since it materialized in the distant Atlantic and took an unusual path toward the mainland United States.

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