Florence death toll up at 11, including 3 killed by flooding

Pablo Tucker
September 16, 2018

Florence continues to bring rains and threaten lives on the east coast of the USA even after it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall.

Emergency workers went door to door urging people to flee Florence's rising waters and used inflatable boats to rescue others as the storm practically parked itself over land and poured on the rain Saturday, raising fears that North Carolina could be in for the most disastrous flooding in its history.

While Florence is, as of 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, now "just" a tropical storm, it has still ripped the Carolina coast with heavy winds and record-breaking rainfall, causing widespread damage for humans and wildlife alike.

The latest three North Carolina deaths were linked to flash flooding and swift water on roads in Duplin County, the local sheriff's department said.

"We are expecting several more days of rain, and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said as the relenting storm puttered slowly west near the SC border.

The weather service later measured a storm surge 10 feet deep in the city, which lies on the Neuse River near the Atlantic coast.

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


Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

The National Hurricane Center said as much as 40in (102cm) was expected on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

Florence made landfall on the East Coast Friday morning with wind speeds of 195 miles per hour.

Officials in North Myrtle Beach, where some flooding was occurring, did report some delays in their 911 emergency system, according to a news release, but their public safety personnel are still out in the community.

Florence is projected to migrate at barely more than a walking pace across northern SC, passing close to the city of Florence - truly - on Saturday. The storm knocked out power to almost 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising.

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

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the L. V. Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington and that contaminated runoff likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond. 'As rivers keep rising and rain keeps falling, the flooding will spread. The price tag on the rebuild efforts for areas devastated by storm surge, which was expected to reach as high as 20 feet in some areas, was still impossible to quantify.


The parts of the country still in the storm's path have been saturated by summer rains and can not soak up any surplus from Florence.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and SC ahead.

Glover speculated that part of the problem could stem from an "until I can get to higher ground and make sure my family is safe, I can't talk to media", mindset.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

A mother and baby died when a tree crashed into their home, the Wilmington Police Department saidon TwitterFriday afternoon. We know how to manage expectations.

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state, and we're deeply concerned for farms, for businesses, for schools and even for whole communities that might be wiped away", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2am.


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