Slow-Moving Florence Causing Major Flooding As It Swirls Over Carolinas

Angelo Anderson
September 16, 2018

Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said Saturday morning. A second location in North Carolina has also broken the previous record.

The small town of Hamlet in Richmond County, North Carolina, for example, is full of toxic emitters: within its borders are a chicken processing plant, an energy company and a wood pellet manufacturer that broke ground within the past few years.

More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1 1/2 feet by the end of the weekend.

In New Bern, North Carolina, one of the cities hardest-hit by the storm that made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, a beloved bear statue and its thick pedestal were uprooted and washed away.

The storm's center is crawling inland over SC, but many of its main rain bands still are over already-saturated North Carolina - setting up what may be days of flooding for some communities.

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sgt. Johan Mackie, part of a team that was using a phone app to locate people in distress.

To give a sense of the scope of inundation to come, the river's crest was expected at 19.1 feet, beating the record 17.9 feet set during Hurricane Matthew. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti.

Serious flooding is expected in inland areas of the two states, with waters already rising in communities such as Conway, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach - and some rivers may not crest for another three to five days.

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

At one point, the 350-mile-wide but slow-moving storm packed winds so fierce that "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor almost lost contact with CBS News' New York studio during the morning broadcast.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days.


Five people, including a mother and her baby, have been killed by Florence, which was initially categorised as a hurricane with 120mph winds. Mangkhut's tropical storm force winds stretched more than 325 miles from the center, while Florence's spread about 195 miles, Klotzbach said.

"Please be safe and be smart and use your common sense", Cooper added.

The president sparked furor on Twitter this week when he claimed that the official death toll from Hurricane Maria was inflated by Democrats to harm him politically.

Florence's eye made landfall over the Wrightsville Beach water tower about 7:15 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wilmington. The child´s injured father was taken to a hospital.

A woman in Hampstead, in Pender County, died of an apparent heart attack after emergency crews could not clear debris to get to her.

A 78-year-old man in Kinston, North Carolina, was electrocuted when he tried to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown area was under water by Friday afternoon. More are expected, as the storm could bring winds up to 45 miles per hour around the area, according to Durham County emergency management officials.

In New Bern, along the coast, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers used inflatable boats to reach people. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

"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.

This photo shows an elderly couple during their evacuation from a facility in SC.

About 20,000 people hunkered down in 157 schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem. Mangkhut formed further south and stayed south - over warmer water. Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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