Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

'Life-threatening' storm starts to lash US

'Life-threatening' storm starts to lash US

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington. A father in the same home was transported to the hospital. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack.

It was initially unclear how many people ended up being rescued.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.

At least 12,000 people have filled 126 shelters across the state.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3½ feet (30 centimeters to 1 meter) as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days. It is now at Category 1.

Wednesday, keen-eyed WFMY staffers noticed there were dozens of Facebook events with ill-advised but hilarious ways to beat the storm, from suggesting we yell "Fake News!" at the hurricane to playing our saxophones in that general direction.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the update said.

Total inundation is likely in portions of eastern and southeastern North Carolina and perhaps the upper part of the SC coast with a storm surge in excess of 10 feet in some areas.

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At the nearby Arthur Christian Church, Booker reports, about twenty people were praying together as the storm barreled toward the Carolinas.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters). A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, has shut operations.

On Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than SC and North Carolina combined". "A slow motion across portions of eastern and central SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night".

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up-to-date with Florence's expected track and impacts to the U.S.

Catastrophic rainfall is expected to accompany the hurricane's 110 miles per hour winds.

"Don't relax. Don't get complacent", said Gov. Roy Cooper.

"There is going to be a lot of rain. But can't replace us, so we chose to come here", said the 39-year-old.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches. The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.

In Shallotte, N.C., a coastal town near the border with SC, emergency orders forced a Waffle House to shut down - an act that was widely seen as a sign of respect for Florence's imposing size and strength.

About 800 flights in the region were canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported. At least 1 million people were ordered to evacuate along the coast.

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A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

About 10 million people live in areas that have been under either hurricane or tropical storm warnings and watches.

Tropical Storm Isaac is also moving westward across the eastern Caribbean.

Duke Energy added it could take up to several weeks to fully restore power in areas left inaccessible due to flooding brought on by the storm. It's moving north-northeast at 18 miles per hour. Other areas, including the cities of Darlington, S.C., to Greenville, N.C., imposed their own curfews, set to begin Thursday night.

As of 11 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).

Joyce, which is about 1,040 miles west-southwest of the Azores, is moving east at 9 mph. It's forecast to gradually turn toward the northeast on Friday and then accelerate northeastward over the weekend.

Another weather disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico moved inland Friday, making landfall in south Texas, bringing heavy rainfall and gusty winds to the region.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

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The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you". More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

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