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Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

16 September 2018
Florence disaster declared in North Carolina as flooding threat grows

The storm is still leaving a path of destruction across the two states, despite its top sustained wind speeds weakening to 72km/h.

At 11 a.m., Florence was centered about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, inching west at 2 mph (4 kph) - not even as fast as a person can walk.

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

In New Bern, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said there was 10ft of water.

They have made clear that this event is all about the water - which the storm has delivered in devastating quantity.

A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said roads around the building were flooding. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to overrun their banks, possibly flooding cities and towns.

The huge levels of rainfall are a result of the storm surge created by the unsafe tropical weather, which has claimed the lives of 11 people.

In addition, the flood danger is not only in the coast - Pfaff said the storm impacts could be felt inland as far north as Virginia and West Virgina.

Florence has already set rainfall records and left tens of thousands of people in shelters and more than one million homes without power, according to a Washington Post report on Saturday.

Steven Pfaff, warning coordination meterologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said Florence is "unbelievably" slow-moving and is bringing heavy rain everywhere it goes. "As rivers keep rising and rain keeps falling, the flooding will spread".

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy carried out in a life vest. More ppl now face a threat than when the storm was offshore.

But for many residents in the low-income communities most threatened by the storm's wake of devastation, evacuation was never a possibility. The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the United States electrical grid.

Charley English of the American Red Cross said anyone wondering how to help from afar can donate blood, registering first at their local Red Cross websites.

Florence was packing 120mph winds (193km/h) on Thursday but weakened from a Category 3 hurricane to Category 1 before it hit the coastline on Friday.

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

"You evacuate from water", Cline said. However, as US Presidents Trump says, "fake news".

The NWS says southern and central portions of North Carolina into far northeast SC are expected to report an additional 10 to 15 inches of rainfall - with storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras. "So we know it's time to go".

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

"It's been done very efficiently and very well", he added, referencing the recovery efforts.

Photos and videos from around the region, and particularly North Carolina, showed the power that Florence contained as it came ashore, leading to rescues across the area.

More than five people have died in Hurricane Florence before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power September 14 morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

SC authorities reported one death.

Trump made headlines during last year's visit after he told people at an emergency shelter to "have a good time" just hours after many of them lost their homes and loved ones. More than 80 people died as a result of that storm, according to officials.

Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing. Floyd produced 24 inches of rain in some parts of the state, while Florence has already dumped about 30 inches in areas around Swansboro.