Hurricane Florence: Giant, slow-moving storm causes deluge as it makes landfall

Christopher Davidson
September 15, 2018

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

"I think I could survive a long time".

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 193km/hr, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 225km/hr earlier in the week.

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

The National Hurricane Center says the high winds - combined with rain-soaked soil - will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines. Florence dumped more than 20 inches on Oriental, N.C., the NHC said.

New Bern is experiencing devastating flooding, as it sits at the confluence of two rivers, which are swollen as a result of the heavy rainfall.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm", Cooper said in a statement.

More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.

WXII-TV reported that 150 people were waiting to be rescued from rising waters in the city New Bern.

Four shelters were now open, Roberts said, adding that dispatchers received a call for 17 people stranded all on one street.

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More than 600,000 people had already lost power by 1 p.m. Friday, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported.

The news came more than 10 hours after the storm began punishing the coastal area with sustained hurricane-force winds, the hurricane center said.

Morehead City resident Rebecca Marson decided not to evacuate because her surgeon husband wanted to remain behind with other first responders.

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now". The agency adds that people trapped by flooding should "never enter attics or crawl spaces".

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said. At the city's airport, the wind was gusting at 91 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

According to the BBC, floodwaters may ride up to 13ft (4 metres) and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Brock Long, explained: "So this is a very risky storm".

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

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