At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

Rosemary Collier
September 17, 2018

Stalled: Florence was almost at a standstill Friday afternoon, moving at just 3 miles per hour.

More than 16 inches of rain have fallen in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way, the hurricane center said.

Here's video of New Bern, North Carolina where hundreds of people were trapped in flood waters.

Two more people died for causes linked to the storm.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses. The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the USA electrical grid.

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

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Hurricane Florence is being blamed for taking several lives in North Carolina, including that of a woman and infant child who were killed when a massive tree crashed through their modest brick home early Friday.

In Pender County, officials said that a woman died of a heart attack Friday morning as emergency crews tried to reach her; they were delayed because of downed trees and debris in the road. The Neuse River rose rapidly, overcoming the streets of New Bern.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

The storm's intensity held at about 90 miles per hour (144 kph), and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most unsafe place to be as Florence moved ashore.

Tropical Storm Florence could taint North Carolina waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste as heavy rains test environmental rules written with milder weather in mind, carrying the risk of contaminating water with bacteria like salmonella, officials said on Friday.

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.

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SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area. That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Scientists can't say - yet - that climate change helped make Florence worse. Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com estimates Florence could drop about 18 trillion gallons of rain. Emergency crews also rescued an Onslow family from their home where a tree fell through the roof, Jordan said.

The city was hit with a 105 miles per hour wind gust, the strongest wind recorded there since 1958. By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages. Additionally, three people have died in SC. "Don't go back until you get the all-clear". "We are stuck in the attic". So as the temperature of ocean water goes up, we might expect the intensity of hurricanes to increase in future. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

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. "I wouldn't have left", Scott Baker told NPR outside the shelter at Trask Middle School in Wilmington, N.C. Baker lives in Wilmington, which was expected to receive the strongest wind and rain.

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