Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

Katie Ramirez
September 15, 2018

Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to crest at Manchester at 35.4 feet at about 8 a.m. Monday. That should spell some relief for the inundated areas of Onslow county, but unfortunately puts the city of Wilmington, southeast coastal communities of North Carolina and northeast areas of SC in the line of fire instead.

Numerous calls are from residents who are trapped in their homes, some of whom reported floodwater rising up to the second floor.

Officials say two people died in Lenoir County.

Government aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-priced loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

It said it also provided assistance to local governments for clean-up efforts following the storm, including building repairs. A persistent band of extremely heavy rain has been continuously centered over southeastern North Carolina, dropping upwards of 20 inches of rain.

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore. "In addition to the ongoing, risky storm surge and flash flooding, will be a long-term river flood threat WELL INLAND as very heavy rainfall continues to fall in the coming days"'. Rainfall is expected to be anywhere from 6 to 10 inches, with the higher totals happening in the southernmost counties of the Piedmont Triad.

Already, the event has broken the state's record for most rain ever observed in a tropical storm or hurricane, with a preliminary report of more than 30 inches. This is expected to cause "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

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The school said if any parents have concerns, they are encouraged to contact the principal. The school has offered Harper to leave the school hall while the anthem is being played.

The rest of SC and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia will experience 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches.

"For overall damage it will be hard at the end of the day, I think, to find a rival for this storm", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's top sustained winds were holding at 45 miles per hour (75 kph), with higher gusts east of the storm's center. They tried desperately to return to their homes as the Neuse River overflowed its banks.

Catastrophic levels of flooding are predicted in some areas, not just where rainfall is at its heaviest across the coast of the Carolinas, but also in the Appalachians. Hurricane force winds were being felt in an 80-mile radius from the center of the storm. The figure for SC was 170,000.

Eventually a citizen rescue crew came with a boat. It said it was located about 40 miles (65 km) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march.

Some towns have already been soaked by more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of drenching rains, and forecasters warned that totals could reach 3 1/2 feet (1 meter), unleashing floods well inland through early next week.

At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westward Saturday across SC.

According to the National Hurricane Center's latest forecast on September 15, the storm is projected to move northwest across the weekend before exiting the Carolinas and hitting Tenessee and Kentucky late Sunday into Monday.

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