Florence weakens to depression, flood risk rises

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 16, 2018

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Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

The governor of North Carolina on Saturday, September 15 warned residents displaced by a killer storm against returning home because of the dangers posed by rising floodwaters.

Hurricanes usually drive people away from Florida, but Florence is making the Sunshine State into a refuge for people from the Carolinas.

"Life-threatening storm surge will continue along portions of the North Carolina coast through today, and also along the Neuse and Pamlico Sound, where rainfall and fresh water flooding will also contribute to high water levels", the update read.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion litres) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses.

"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is fantastic and a blessing", Rebekah Roth said yesterday while walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood.

Mr Cooper said: "North Carolina Emergency Management experts have been sharing flood mapping with local officials".

North Carolina officials said there had been at least seven storm-related fatalities in the state, with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths.

Another individual's death was reported Friday in coastal Pender County though few details are known.

The White House released a photograph showing Trump seated at a desk with a phone to his ear and Vice President Mike Pence standing nearby. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.

Ex-hurricane Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 80-kilometres-per-hour but it's projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding.

A man sits on a park bench in a flooded park as the Cape Fear River rises above its usual height in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

On Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Sutton was mothballed in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills.

Officials warned that the flooding was only just starting.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the coastline for days.

As of noon, Swansboro, North Carolina, had almost 31 inches of rain, Emerald Isle had over 23, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about a foot.

In New Bern, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington at the confluence of two rivers, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000 and left the downtown area under water. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

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