Several dead, hundreds rescued as Hurricane Florence pounds Carolinas

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 16, 2018

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday.

At 11 a.m., Florence was centered about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, NC, and about 55 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, SC, crawling west-southwest at 3 mph. As of Friday afternoon, the storm was moving across southeastern North Carolina at 3 miles per hour.

Hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds reached out 195 miles.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018.

The NOAA's National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has warned multiple tornadoes could form within the area of North Carolina.

Hours before the storm made landfall September 14, workers at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio. The National Weather Service said the floods likely will last for weeks. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

On Friday afternoon, Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw explained to NPR's All Things Considered that people stayed in their homes, despite evacuation orders, because storms that were predicted to be bad in the past, just didn't happen.

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018. The remnants of Florence are expected to hit the peaks of western North Carolina in a couple of days. Flooding also hit the Bogue Sound near Beaufort, the Pungo River at Belhaven and the Pamlico River at Washington.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued.

Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

It is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on U.S. soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days. The Army Corps of Engineers was preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris.

The American Red Cross is now accepting donations to help those affected by Florence.

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

Based on the current track of Hurricane Florence, the central Midlands are expected to get 3-6 inches of rainfall, and 25 to 35 miles per hour winds with gusts up to 45 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.

The storm officially made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 a.m. (1115 GMT), the National Hurricane Center said.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 169 km/hr the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Some areas of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said. "Just so you know that we are staying here to keep you up to date".

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Brock Long warned on Thursday that inland flooding could be deadly and the cleanup will take time and patience. It was expected to slowly move southwest into SC before turning north, forecasters said.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the south-eastern coast of North Carolina and part of north-eastern SC.

And Hurricane Florence, though far from the fastest-windspeed storm in recent memory, remains a significant threat precisely due to the large surge and huge rainfall it's dumping on affected areas.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

The storm was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm late Friday.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, CBS Greenville affiliate WNCT-TV reports.

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