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Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

16 September 2018

South Carolina Department of Transportation head Christy Hall said trees are already down in areas of Horry County and citizens should prepare for flooding.

With the emergence of Florence, some place in the USA has been drenched because of a stalled hurricane for four years in a row, storm surge expert Hal Needham said. Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain by Friday night with more torrents on the way.

Florence will then turn back towards the eastern US coast, making its way to Pennsylvania by 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

It has trapped people in flooded homes as citizen swift-water rescue teams from out of state join local emergency professionals around the clock to try and bring them to safety.

The Cape Fear River has overrun its banks, allowing water to pour into the downtown area of Wilmington. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

The rest of SC into western North Carolina and southwest Virginia is expected to report 5 to 10 inches of additional rainfall, with isolated cases of 15 inches.

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days. At least seven people, including a mother and an infant, were killed in the storm.

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"Remember most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars". The crews tried to move the debris with a front loader, but a tree went through the windshield, causing further delays, the officials said.

"Please be safe and be smart and use your common sense", Cooper added. Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore.

People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington, North Carolina.

Firefighters pray during an operation to remove a tree that fell on a house and killed two residents as Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. The child's injured father was hospitalized.

In Pender County, a woman died from a heart attack after paramedics were not able to get to her.

Two people died in Lenoir County.

More than 300 volunteers from nine USA states have joined the relief effort in North Carolina, according to ABC News.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern.

Power outages mounted until almost 700,000 customers were in the dark in North Carolina alone. The figure for SC was 170,000.

Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows