Florence hovers over coastal states, raising fears of epic flooding

Pablo Tucker
September 18, 2018

Volunteers from all over North Carolina help to rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018, in New Bern, North Carolina.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm had climbed to 13 by Saturday evening with 10 deaths reported in NC and three in SC. But its slow march over the two states, crawling west at only 2 miles per hour (3 km per hour), threatens to leave large parts of the region deluged in the coming days. Authorities reported two more deaths on Monday, both in North Carolina. More than 20,000 residents are already accommodated in emergency shelters.

Torrential rain from Florence is now causing rapid rises in area rivers.

"He has said they would do whatever it takes to see that everything is available for South Carolina", McMaster said.

A 16-mile stretch of a main highway out of the area, I-95, was shutdown due to severe flooding.

Utility crews worked to restore electricity even as flood waters inundated whole communities.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina, freeing up federal resources to boost recovery efforts, the White House confirmed Saturday.

Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding is likely over the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into western Virginia and eastern West Virginia. These nine aircraft will be deployed to Myrtle Beach to begin operating in affected areas of North Carolina Sunday.

More than 30 inches (75cm) of rain has fallen across North and SC since Friday, with tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes.

Rivers are swelling toward record levels, forecasters now warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

"This storm is still deadly and risky and it's expected to turn northward later today into Virginia and the mid-Atlantic", he said.

A 61-year-old woman died in SC when the vehicle she was driving hit a fallen tree on Highway 18 near Union, The Associated Press reported. On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.

Almost 1 million people are without power across the Carolinas, according to CNN.

"All persons who refuse or fail to comply with this mandatory evacuation order shall do so at their own risk", the official announcement said, adding that emergency responders and other rescue personnel may not come to save them after the evacuation deadline passes.

Two babies are among 17 people who have died as rain and flooding from storm Florence continues to devastate the United States east coast.

Florence is expected to sit over the area through the early part of next week before moving into the northeast.

"And from that point, we started hearing where people were saying on phone calls, 'I love you, ' to their family members because they were not sure they were going to get out of it alive", she said Friday.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas.

Flood waters had receded, and her husband was able to return home to retrieve their vehicle, blankets, food and clothing, Moore said.

"We got them out, but by the time we left, the water was so high that they would have drowned. So yeah, not safe", Ochoa said.

Florence set a record in the state for rain from a hurricane, surpassing the previous record of 24 inches (61 cm) set by Hurricane Floyd, which killed 56 people in 1999, said Bryce Link, a meteorologist with private forecasting service DTN Marine Weather.

Other reports by iNewsToday