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Tracking Hurricane Florence as storm lands in North Carolina
16 September 2018, 06:27 | Dale Webster
In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000 which is located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers.
It's a photo that makes you sick to your stomach after you realize this is the City of New Bern's sign nearly completely under flood waters. In previous hurricanes in North Carolina, residents lived in trailers while they rebuilt or found permanent housing.
"North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned in a briefing Saturday morning that more people in the state are in danger now than when Florence made landfall there on Friday".
The death not related to the hurricane and it is under investigation.
This storm is relentless and excruciating. In neighboring SC, 155,000 customers are without power, officials said. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti.
"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is awesome and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood on Saturday. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway.
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. Mike Doll, Senior Meteorologist at Accuweather said the windswill continue to slow down over the weekend and the main problem moving forward will be flooding due to heavy rains. He said five deaths were confirmed from the storm and "several others are under investigation".
"Life-threatening storm surge will continue along portions of the North Carolina coast through today, and also along the Neuse and Pamlico Sound, where rainfall and fresh water flooding will also contribute to high water levels", the update read.
Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.
"Please be safe and be smart and use your common sense", Cooper added. It hit the coast as a Category 1 storm with 90 miles per hour maximum sustained winds, the NWS said.
Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 76cm of rain, the US Geological Survey said. The hurricane center downgraded Florence to a tropical storm later in the day.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.
Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018. In the state´s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.
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. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said. Rain draining from upriver, especially from hard-hit North Carolina, will come down rivers such as the Waccamaw, which isn't expected to crest in Conway for another three to five days.
Officials in New Bern said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, more than 60 people were evacuated from a hotel after part of the roof collapsed, city officials said.
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The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information. ET, Florence was centred about 135 kilometres east-southeast of Wilmington , its forward movement slowed to seven km/h.
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