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Hurricane Florence path: Storm moves to SC - bringing CATASTROPHIC flood risk

15 September 2018

The father was taken to hospital, reportedly in a critical condition.

In Lenoir County, a 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords, and another died when he was blown away by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs. A woman in Pender County, North Carolina, died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees.

There have been seven storm-related deaths since Florence, then a Category-1 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning. The storm has weakened to a Category 1, with wind speeds of 90 miles per hour. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

First responders in North Carolina are scrambling to rescue residents stranded in the coastal town of New Bern. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats.

The worst natural disaster in North Carolina history was Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which dumped almost 2 feet of rain and flooded a broad swath of the coastal plain, swamping whole towns and dozens of hog farm lagoons containing millions of gallons of untreated urine and feces.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril. By late afternoon, Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood hoped the worst was over.

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers". The eye moved from sea to land at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. Now its maximum sustained winds are about 50mph (80km/h) and it's a tropical storm.

4 dead as Hurricane Florence drenches the Carolinas next
Mid September is peak hurricane season and it's not unusual to have multiple storms in the ocean at the same time. As it pushed past and south of Cuba it is forecasted to weaken further, into a Tropical Depression .

The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter. Emergency crews also rescued an Onslow family from their home where a tree fell through the roof, Jordan said.

Power outages increased throughout Friday. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

And weather officials said more is coming, labeling as "extreme" the impacts from storm surge and flash flooding. In addition to the flash flood and flooding threat, landslides are also possible in the higher terrain of the southern and central Appalachians across western North Carolina into southwest Virginia. He urged residents to stay inside and not get in the way of emergency workers.

Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland". "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change. An additional 12-14+ inches of rain is expected around the Wilmington area.

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown.

Tinder users are reportedly searching for love through the worst of the storm. "There's a little bit of apprehension as you can imagine", said Major Mark Craddock with the Salvation Army of Cape Fear, who was hunkered down with about 30 others at the organization's shelter in downtown Wilmington, about three blocks from the Cape Fear River.

Hurricane Florence path: Storm moves to SC - bringing CATASTROPHIC flood risk