Hundreds rescued from flooding in historic NC city

15 September, 2018, 14:51 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth Harrelson install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

Florence plowed into the Carolinas and lumbered slowly inland on Friday, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leaving five people dead before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

CORRECTING TYPO IN CITY NAME People wait to be rescued by members of the U.S. Army during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

Yesterday, the European Space Agency released a short video of astronauts aboard the space station watching the storm out of the cupola armed with powerful cameras to capture its giant knot of storm clouds.

About 70 people were pulled from a motel near Camp LeJeune at the height of the storm as the roof started to collapse.

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day. But some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

Responding to the incident, a Weather Channel spokesman said: "It's important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted".

SCE&G reported more than 1,925 customers across SC were without power as of 11 p.m.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said. More are expected, as the storm could bring winds up to 45 miles per hour around the area, according to Durham County emergency management officials.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical storm-force winds reached out to 315km.

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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".

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now". The Waccamaw River in Conway and the Little Pee Dee River in Galivants Ferry are expected to reach major flood levels by early next week, with officials predicting possible record-setting floods in the western part of the county.

She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home.

"We're estimating we've rescued 150-200", New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning. At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westward Saturday across SC. Many state museums and other attractions are also closed. Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland.

More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands have moved to emergency shelters. Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.

Early on Friday, South Carolina emergency officials said there was still time, "but not a lot of time" for people to leave flood-prone areas.

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said.

Forecasters said that given the storms size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

"The evacuation was countywide, but since we're not in a flood zone, we weren't really anxious about that", she told VOA.

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