Trump declares disaster in 8 North Carolina counties

Lester Mason
September 16, 2018

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says areas like New Bern, North Carolina, could also see additional storm surge as high tide combines with the ocean waters still being pushed ashore by Florence's outer bands.

It has already claimed five victims, with a mother and her baby crushed by a tree in North Carolina.

"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington".

In North Carolina, at least five deaths are related to the storm - but "several others are under investigation", Cooper said.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

Early Saturday morning Florence's winds weakened to 65 mph (100 kph) as it moved forward at 5 mph (7 kph) and was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"The water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood", he said. "This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall".

Volunteers from all over North Carolina help to rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018, in New Bern, North Carolina.

He said residents should "expect flooding and potential landslides tonight and into Monday", and warned against driving in the water "no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house".

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

"This is one of the most devastating hurricanes we've ever had", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

Firefighters said the area had not been in the zone under evacuation orders.


A woman in Hampstead, in Pender County, died of an apparent heart attack after emergency crews could not clear debris to get to her. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.

North Carolina's Harnett County has declared a mandatory evacuation along a river that's expected to rise to more than 17 feet above flood stage.

The White House said President Donald Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts".

"Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement - not easy, very risky, tremendous talent".

The National Hurricane Center said Florence broke a North Carolina rainfall record that had stood for nearly 20 years: Preliminary reports showed Swansboro got over 30 inches and counting, eclipsing the mark set in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd dropped just over 24 inches on the state.

Florence is moving slowly across eastern SC, and according to the National Hurricane Center is producing "catastrophic flooding over North and SC".

The military announced Saturday it was deploying almost 200 soldiers to assist in storm-related response and recovery efforts, along with 100 trucks and equipment.

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and other rescue crews used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to reach scores of people trapped on rooftops or otherwise caught in the floodwaters.

Florence made landfall on the East Coast Friday morning with wind speeds of 195 miles per hour.

Members of Onslow County emergency look to see if a passenger was still in a vehicle that was overtaken by flooding on US Route 17 outside of Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the storm touched down, trees and power lines were felled and many windows broken. The streets were mostly deserted, some blocked by fallen trees.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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