Running Out Of Cots, North Carolina Shelters Strained As Florence Hits

17 September, 2018, 13:02 | Author: Chad Warren
  • High winds and water surround buildings as Hurricane Florence hits Sawnsboro. Image AAP

At least five people have been killed so far in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence which was downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm with winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) along the U.S. East Coast.

A mother and her young child were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

4 deaths were confirmed by officials as American media reported another, and the storm has wreaked havoc in the Carolinas, lashing the U.S. states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.

But a state lawmaker said that hurricanes have led to unsafe spills in recent years and North Carolina's laws are too lax to confront severe storms such as Florence.

Storm surge of up to 13 feet will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center. "The other fact is, it blocks some of the drainage of the rain, so you put a lot of rain on this, trying to drain onto these rivers, you start backing them up, see flooding".

What is the latest on the storm?

In Kinston, a city southeast of Raleigh, two people died in the storm.

"They cleared out 75 percent of the patients", she said.

"Our preparation is now having to turn to determination and we're going to work hard to recover and recover quickly", Cooper said.

Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal. His body was discovered by family members.

"Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement - not easy, very unsafe, tremendous talent".

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has set up a "rumor control" website to quash false information in Florence's wake.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States. Image AAP
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States. Image AAP

As of 5:00 am (0900 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of risky storm surges and "catastrophic flash flooding".

"New Bern is just not used to this level of a hurricane", with damaging gales, rains, storm surge and flash flooding, said New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw. "We are deeply concerned about the inland flooding". "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter.

"All evacuation orders from local officials should be followed because of this unsafe threat", the Weather Channel said.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the National Hurricane Center said.

Utility officials say almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas on Friday and more were expected to lose power.

Tornadoes are also a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".

In Wilmington, numerous trees that contributed to its historic beauty are now gone.

A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Florence in Wilmington, N.C.

Sustained wind speeds were clocked at 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Mason Tarr said he spent the night at a friend's house but didn't sleep well. We have steps on the sides of the house so it's a few feet off the ground anyway. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, a pick-up truck drove into standing water on the road and lost control, overturning into a ditch.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.

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