Hurricane Florence in pictures: ‘1,000 year event’ storm LASHES US east coast

Ismael LynchSep 16, 2018

Tropical Storm Florence made landfall Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane and has continued to weaken as it slowly moves inland.

Officials in SC said Saturday that the first fatality was confirmed in that state.

Mother Lesha Murphy-Johnson and her baby, Zac, were killed after being trapped inside their home in Wilmington when a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am on Friday. Duke Energy, the area's biggest utility company, said that figure could rise to three million and restoring power could take weeks.

Cops say a woman in Pender County, NC, died after suffering a heart attack but paramedics were unable to reach her due to blocked roads.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing about a storm that forecasters said was 300 miles (480 km) wide. Another man in the county who was checking on his dogs outside was killed in what his family thought was a wind-related death Friday morning, emergency officials said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the Carolina coast for days.

In North Carolina, the city of New Bern was particularly hard hit.

"It looks like a battlefield out here", he said.

Satellites also continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as it passes over North Carolina to help meteorologists make more accurate predictions of how the storm will impact people living in the region.

Any returning evacuees have been warned that flooding may last in the eastern Carolinas into next week, inclusive of flooding across roadways and into homes.

The projected rainfall could present a problem for the power industry's 26 coal-ash ponds in the Carolinas.

Since midnight, peak wind gusts reached 32 miles per hour in Raleigh and 47 miles per hour in Fayetteville. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

Forecasters say the storm surge, together with up to 3.5ft (1m) of rain over the next few days, could spawn a slow-motion disaster. Expert scientists, however, had said they were anxious about Brunswick because of scant public information about its readiness.

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.

New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones.

Sidney Este, whose 71-year-old mother was still inside his house, said: "I'm mostly concerned about the house getting hotter and hotter".

"It was pretty bad".

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said. Many of them are boat owners, who help rescue stricken flood victims.

"About 11:30, 12 (midnight), the water came into the house".

"It has slowed", he said.

"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 to a hotel some almost 80 miles (130 km) away.

Meanwhile, CBS affiliate WNCT reports that more than 60 people, including an infant and children, were rescued from a hotel in Jacksonville, N.C. after strong winds threatened the structural integrity of the building. "People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this".

In Morehead City, Brooke Kittrell rode out the storm Thursday and Friday with her boyfriend aboard their docked boat, hoping it didn't break loose and slam something.

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