Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

The mother and baby were among a family of three who were in a house in Wilmington, North Carolina, when it was struck by a falling tree. The child's injured father was taken to a hospital.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days".

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned that life-threatening storm surges - in which water is pushed over land that would normally be dry - and catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Hurricane Florence's came ashore at Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, N.C., at 7:15 a.m. ET on Friday with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Florence's rain will bring 40 inches to some parts of the Carolinas, forecasters said.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw confirmed there were no reports of fatalities as of early Friday morning.

In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed. Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts.

Craven County emergency crews put out the message to people stranded to shelter in place, as 150 people were waiting for help before midnight Thursday.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump stands by tweets questioning Puerto Rico death toll: "NO WAY" Trump pushes back on ex-lawyer putting out book, cites "attorney-client privilege" Wealthiest Republican supporter in OH quits party MORE plans to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week once conditions improve and his visit won't disrupt recovery efforts, the White House said Friday. "The strong winds will also blow around any loose objects, lawn furniture and trash cans".

"It's insane", he said in a phone interview.

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"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", he said.

By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, with winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

Tropical Storm Florence keeps drenching the central Carolinas and is expected to generate up to 380 millimetres of rain before it swings north over the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley on Monday.

FlightAware expects the number of cancellations to rise, although "the limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", spokeswoman Sara Orsi said in a statement.

Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm, is barrelling towards the States causing panic across the country, and more than a million people have been evacuated in preparation for landfall.

Maysie Baumgardner, 7, and her family sheltered at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence filled the streets with floodwaters.

She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home. "I'm a little bit scared right now, but I have my iPad and I'm watching Netflix".

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

Evacuation warnings were issued for 1.7 million people in the region.

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