Rescue team member Sgt. Nick Muhar, of the North Carolina National Guard 1/120th battalion, evacuates a young child as the rising water of Hurricane Florence threatened his home in New Bern, N. C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
MYRTLE BEACH, S. C. – Florence has already proven deadly with her almost non-stop rain, rising sea water and the howling wind and the threat of days ends up as remnants of the once major hurricane slowly creep inland over the Carolinas.
Some towns have received more than 2 feet (60 metres) of the rain of Florence, and forecasters warned that pouring rain with as much as 3½ feet (1 meter) of water can lead to epic flooding and in the interior until the beginning of next week. At least four people have died, and the authorities fear that the toll will go higher as tropical storm creeping westward Saturday in South Carolina.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence a “uninvited ” brute” that could wipe out entire communities if he spins his way across country.
“The fact is that this storm is deadly and we know that we are days away from the end,” Cooper said.
As the 400-meter-wide (645-kilometer-wide) Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and rising seas, rescue workers used boats to more than 360 people are besieged by the rising waters in New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbors and waited for help. Dozens of others were rescued from a collapsed motel.
Florence flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads. The storm knocked out power to nearly 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number may rise.
A mother and child were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. A 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor’s office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect to extension cords in the rain.
Storm surges — the bulge of the ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane were as high as 10 feet (3 meters).
Shocked after seeing the waves on the Neuse River just outside his home in New Bern, owner of a restaurant and the hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.
“I feel like the dumbest man who ever walked the face of the earth,” he said.
After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made arrive as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 p.m. in Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometres) east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina line. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, empty-out of the piece of the coast.
Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm later, the winds weakened to 65 mph (100 km / h) it went forward at 5 mph (7 km / h) about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
But it was clear that this is really about the water, not in the wind. Morehead City (North Carolina) had received 23 inches (58 cm) of rain on Friday evening with more torrents on the way.
Florence forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill — sometimes it went no faster than a man can walk — and that has enabled it to pile on the rain.
The flood soon spread in South Carolina, swamping cities such as North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white beaches and numerous golf courses.
For the people who live in the interior in the Carolina’s, the moment the most danger of flooding could come later, because it takes time for rainwater runoff in the rivers and for those streams to crest.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard soldiers and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
The authorities warned of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environment disaster of water washing over industrial waste sites and farms.
Florence can be an important test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared last year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was nearly 3,000.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually break over the southern Appalachian mountains and make a right angle to the northeast, rainy remnants move in the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a whopping 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. That is enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or the entire state of Texas with nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
North Carolina, only is the weather to get of 9.6 billion liters (36 billion liters), enough to the Tar Heel state to a depth of approximately 10 inches (25 cm).
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, fire and police fought wind and rain, as they went from door to door to pull more than 60 people from the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapsel.
In New Bern, population of 29,000, flood on the Neuse River on the left 500 people in danger.
“WE are COMING to GET YOU,” the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday. “You have to go to the second story, or your attic, but WE will COME GET YOU.”
Boat teams, including volunteers saved some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row away from her at Florence, attack.
“The wind was so hard, that the waters were so hard … We have thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees,” said Holt, who had stayed at home, because of a doctor’s appointment that was later cancelled. She was eventually rescued by the crew of the boat; 140 more expected help.
Ashley Warren and friend, Chris Smith, managed to paddle near their house in a boat with their two dogs and stayed her shaken.
“To be honest, I grew up in Wilmington. I love hurricanes. But this is an experience for me,” she said. “We can leave.”
Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington; Allen G. Breed in New Bern, North Carolina; Jeffrey Collins in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Jennifer Kay in Miami; Tamara Lush in Jacksonville, Florida; Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; Sarah Rankin, and Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Skip Foreman in Charlotte, North Carolina; Jeff Martin in Hampton, Georgia; David Koenig in Dallas; Gerry Broome on Nags Head, North Carolina; and Jay Reeves in Atlanta contributed to this report.
For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes