Hurricane Florence makes landfall, set to deluge Carolinas

Audrey Hill
September 17, 2018

WIND: Tropical storm conditions will continue through Saturday morning in portions of the warning area along the coast and also over large portions of eastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC, with tropical storm force wind gusts spreading well inland.

About half of all deaths in hurricanes come from storm surges, as this graphic shows.

Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Hurricane Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.

WILMINGTON - Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour winds, Hurricane Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm will travel through upstate SC, be downgraded to a tropical depression, then turn north toward the Ohio Valley. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding.

It was initially unclear how many people ended up being rescued.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't near an end.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned, "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", he said.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from prisons and juvenile detention centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities. "A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house", police tweeted Friday afternoon.

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse. "We knew it was coming", New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said.

At 2 p.m., Florence had just barely Category 1 hurricane strength, with top sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

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The biggest danger, as forecasters saw it, was not the wind but the water: the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain over the next several days that could trigger catastrophic flooding in a slow-motion disaster well inland.

More than 2 feet of rain already had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on as Florence, a hurricane-turned-tropical storm, practically parked itself over the two states. It started pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.

(Original story: 7:20 a.m.) - Hurricane Florence has reached land and this is just the beginning.

The storm's center is crawling 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.

CBN News' Erik Rosales has this update from Wilmington, North Carolina.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said. Traffic lights out of order because of power failures swayed in the gusty wind.

Canceled more than 1.5 thousand flights.

Another woman who was rescued by another group in New Bern told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360˚" that she and her family thought they would be safe in their brick home and heard the storm had been downgraded from a Category 4.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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