World: 5 Dead, Catastrophic Flooding as Florence Hovers Over Carolinas
London, September 15, 2018,(AltAfrica) – At least five people are dead and almost a million homes and businesses are without power Saturday as tropical storm Florence plods along over a portion of the southeastern coast of the U.S.
The National Hurricane Center said Saturday the storm’s “heavy rains and catastrophic flooding continue across North and South Carolina.” In addition, the center said tornadoes are possible Saturday in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. The storm’s slow movement, not its wind, is what worries forecasters and officials most.
Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm after barreling into North Carolina as a Category One hurricane with damaging winds and heavy rain.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Saturday despite the downgrade, Florence is still “unloading epic amounts of rainfall” and still very capable of wiping out entire communities.
“The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hours ago. We face walls of water at our coast, along our rivers, across farmland, in our cities and in our towns.”
Cooper said flood waters are continuing to rise and urged evacuees to “stay put” until they receive “the official all-clear.”
Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, say a mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their house. Another woman died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain. Another man died when he was knocked down by high winds while checking on his dogs.
The White House announced Saturday President Donald Trump declared “a major disaster exists” in North Carolina, freeing up federal funds and resources for the recovery efforts.
The hurricane center said Florence is moving slowly inland with maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour and higher gusts. By Saturday morning, the storm was moving slowly across eastern South Carolina.
Florence is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Saturday night as it moves inland over the next few days.
The storm’s slow movement, not its strength, is what worries forecasters and officials.
Florence is moving at four kilometers per hour – giving it more time to bring massive amounts of rain.
Hundreds of people in North Carolina have been rescued from rising water. Authorities say they received more than 150 telephone calls to rescue people in the historic town of New Bern alone because water had entered their homes.
The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters of rain for some parts of North Carolina.
Hundreds of people in North Carolina have been rescued from rising water. In Craven County, authorities say they received more than 150 telephone calls to rescue people in the historic town of New Bern because water had entered their homes.
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.
“I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth,” he said.
New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones.
“The evacuation was countywide, but since we’re not in a flood zone, we weren’t really worried about that,” she told us.
“The way our house sits, it’s elevated. We have steps on the sides of the house so it’s a few feet off the ground anyway. And since we’re already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others,” she said.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats..