Hurricane Florence Drowned a Riverfront 30 Miles from the North Carolina Coast

Ismael LynchSep 15, 2018

Police in Wilmington say a mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their house. "The father was transported to (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) with injuries".

In Pender County, North Carolina, a woman suffered a heart attack and died because hurricane debris blocking roads prevented paramedics from reaching her.

There was just one problem: While Seidel looked as if he needed to guard against the wind and the rain, two people walked behind him as though nothing was wrong and ruined the appearance of dire conditions.

A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man perished when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) but authorities warned the danger was far from over.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. Its center was moving west at only 6 mph (9 km/h) and about 50 miles south of Morehead City at around 1 a.m. (0500 GMT Friday).

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area earlier this week.

"I'm looking down the street and I'm amazed, I've never seen this kind of damage here", said Shawn Hublin, another New Bern resident. They ventured out in life jackets into waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree. Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern in part to protect their house.

The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as one metre in some places.

"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses", Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night.

Whether residents left their homes, sought refuge in a shelter or are hunkering down, the weather service has bad news: After creeping inland, Florence "is expected to slow down even more today and tonight". Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

Almost 300,000 customers in North Carolina were meanwhile reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached.

Coastal streets flowed with ocean water, and more than 460,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

To put the rain in perspective, Wilmington's three-day rainfall record was 19.66 inches set in 2010, said Jordan Baker, a meteorologist with the NWS Wilmington office.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend. Duke Energy provides power to 4 million people across the Carolinas.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

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