Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Credit PA Credit PA
Guillermo Jimenez | 15 September, 2018, 17:42

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see".

After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into SC as night came.

Florence "will continue to track slowly inland through the Carolinas this weekend", the National Weather Service said in its 8:00 a.m. update Saturday.

In the coming days, Florence's path and pace may cause it to send storm bands back over areas already hammered by heavy rain - what's known as training - dumping even more water and making conditions even more hazardous for both residents and rescuers.

North Carolina's governor Roy Cooper described the storm as "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

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.

Florence will track through SC through Saturday night, and then up into western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Sunday. TV station WNCN said the 78-year-old victim and was "trying to connect two extension cords outside in the rain".

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

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Once a Category-4 hurricane with winds of 225kph, the hurricane was downgraded to Category 1 on Thursday night.

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days".

The flooding soon spread into SC.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical storm-force winds reached out to 315km.

Notice the lag in flooding; most rivers will begin to rise 48 to 72 hours after the storm exits the coast. With Florence, "we're looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days". Forecasters say it could become a depression by Saturday night. That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Government weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Florence shortly after its landfall September 14, 2018.

The National Hurricane Centre said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

Firefighters pray at scene where mom, baby killed during Florence
Cooper cited a National Weather Service forecast that said almost the entire state could be covered in several feet of water. A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to USA media.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

Meanwhile, many were experiencing a complete blackout as the storm damaged infrastructure, utility poles and transmission lines. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

A man electrocuted while plugging in a generator during a heavy rain and another knocked down by wind were among the other casualties reported from the monster storm.

Some of the worst flooding was in New Bern, where authorities were enforcing a curfew. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

While many sought shelter - about 26,000 people took refuge in 100 shelters and at the 14,000-seat Joel Colisseum in Winston-Salem - others ignored warnings or headed to nearby hotels. "Houses. Trees", Holt said.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and were left shaken.

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"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.

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