Official Describes Hurricane Florence Rescue Efforts In Hard-Hit New Bern, North Carolina

Audrey Hill
September 17, 2018

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said people could still leave flood-prone areas.

A mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina, the first reported fatalities from Hurricane Florence, police said Friday.

"Heavy rain has been occurring in and around Oriental, North Carolina, where 20.37 inches of rainfall has been measured thus far", the National Hurricane Center said in an update. The media outlet said a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while he was trying to connect two extension cords in the rain.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported a fatal collision in Kershaw County on Sunday morning.

Two people have died so far because of Hurricane Florence here in Eastern Carolina. 61-year-old Amber Dawn Lee was killed late Friday when her vehicle struck a tree that had fallen across the highway.

Amber Dawn Lee, 61, of the town of Union, died at the scene, according to Union County Coroner William Holcombe.

Florence was inching along Friday night into Saturday, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat. Residents mostly heeded police commands to stay home and off the streets. A father in the same home was transported to the hospital.

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Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland declared states of emergency.

The WXCHARTS map shows the deadly eye of the hurricane moving across North Carolina with wind gusts reaching 131km per hour until subsiding to 80km per hour on Sunday. The couple died in a house fire in Cumberland County, N.C. on Friday. The death is under investigation. No other information was given.

"I'm just speechless that a place like this would open its doors and its heart to us", she said.

She, her husband and three children went up into the attic for a while, but the winds howled and the family descended to an upper floor bedroom. An investigation is underway, but officials said it appears there's no reason for others at the shelter to worry.

The NHC also warns of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" through early next week.

"With this storm, it's a (Category 1) but the storm surge and the flooding is going to be that of a category 4", CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray explained Thursday night.

Airlines cancelled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

Since 1950, the center of 24 tropical systems (tropical storms and hurricanes combined) have either directly hit Wilmington, North Carolina have come within 25 miles of Wilmington.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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