4 dead as Hurricane Florence unleashes fury in Carolinas

Deanna Kelley
September 15, 2018

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center.

He made reference to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Irene in 2011, Sandy in 2012, Harvey and Maria in 2017 and now Florence.

Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland". Though forecasters later downgraded Florence to a tropical storm, the monster system is barely moving over the Carolinas and could dump drenching rains of up to 3½ feet (1 meter).

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and SC - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

Heavy rain is expected to continue all day, and the northern coastline of SC is still under a storm surge warning, but the National Weather Service's latest flooding projections show less rivers forecast to reach major flood levels than previously thought. Robert Faircloth has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, for 62 years.

Wright is far from the only resident in the Carolinas that chose to weather Hurricane Florence, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, though many who chose to stay are starting to reconsider their decision of sticking around for what North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called a "1,000-year event". Flash flooding and river flooding is likely, they warn. Over 1 million people are under evacuation warnings, with 10 million more under storm watches and warnings, CBS News reports. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.

Cinder blocks that were part of the structure crumbled in some places, and portions of the roof were missing. 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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A mother and her young child were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

On Friday afternoon, the city of Wilmington enacted a curfew from 10 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Saturday, Mayor Bill Saffo said. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued. Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted.

Prior to Hurricane Florence's landfall, more than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate the coast.

As of 4 a.m., Florence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley". Newport, North Carolina, reported 23.5 inches of rainfall just before midnight on Friday.

Over 645,000 power outages were reported Friday morning. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

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