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Death toll rises to 11 as Florence continues battering US East Coast

16 September 2018, 01:38 | Dale Webster

Death toll rises to 11 as Florence continues battering US East Coast

Volunteers rescuing residents from their flooded homes in New Bern North Carolina last Friday. The storm surge had overwhelmed the town of 30,000 which is at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 kph) over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a mother and her baby died when a tree landed on their house.

"Rivers are rising to risky levels, and the relentless rains will continue through the weekend", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned on Friday.

As much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain could fall on coastal areas in North and SC, the National Hurricane Center said.

In towns like New Bern that are already underwater, the river isn't expected to reach its highest level for a couple of days.

Emergency management officials and nonprofit groups aren't waiting for Florence's rains to end or floodwaters to recede before starting to help people recover from the storm. Though the popular North Carolina tourist destination seems to have been spared the worst of Florence's wrath, the islands still have some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world, almost an inch a year.

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.

On Friday afternoon, it was traveling at just 3 to 5 miles per hour, still near the coast.




Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the southeastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding and up to 13 deaths. The storm is expected to turn west and then north moving through the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said early on Saturday. In South Carolina, some 36,000 customers are without power. An ominous tweet appeared on the historic North Carolina community's Twitter feed about 2 a.m. Friday. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti. "We all know that".

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 76cm of rain, the US Geological Survey said.

"The shelves are pretty empty, and we don't expect our first truck until Sunday, maybe, if they can get through", she said. Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding.

In South Carolina, emergency managers were watching several northeastern rivers that flooded two years ago during Hurricane Matthew, destroying homes and government offices.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel was seemingly battling to stay upright as he filmed a piece in North Carolina - only for two pedestrians to calmly stroll past in the background. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".



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