Hundreds rescued in North Carolina city as waters rose

Audrey Hill
September 15, 2018

The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC.

"We know where the water's going now so we can kind of better prepare those buildings and exhibits", she said.

Spokesman Howard Fowler said restoration could take "weeks instead of days", even though 20,000 workers, including crews from outside the area, were standing by.

The storm surge is going to be potentially life-threatening for some areas along the United States coastline.

Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes.

The hurricane's immensity is why some 10 million people across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under storm watches and warnings, with meteorologists projecting Florence could become the most powerful storm to hit this part of the United States in at least 25 years.

"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday, knocking down trees, swamping streets and causing four deaths before slowing to a pace that will lead to a days-long deluge for the region.

As 400-mile-wide Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach scores of people besieged by rising waters along a river.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped way down from a terrifying 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

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"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

Florence was located about 325 miles east-southeast of Myrtle beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

In the besieged North Carolina city of New Bern, rescuers by midmorning Friday had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said.

Rescue crews in Onslow County helped evacuate 70 people from a Jacksonville hotel early Friday after the roof collapsed and rain rushed in.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.

On Thursday, Trump faced criticism for disputing the official death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit previous year. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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