HURRICANE FLORENCE: Storm kills 3, downs trees and power lines across region

Katie Ramirez
September 16, 2018

"A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house". Duke Energy is in charge of supplying power to a large portion of North and SC residents: almost 75 percent of residents, or about 3 million people. A 78-year-old man connecting extension cords in the rain was electrocuted, according to Roger Dail, the Lenoir County director of emergency services. "It can't be operated near rain", Wareheim said.

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state, and we're deeply concerned for farms, for businesses, for schools and even for whole communities that might be wiped away", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D, said.

The extremely unsafe hurricane has already caused more than 500,000 power outages and more is expected in the coming days.

Officials said Friday they expected the same amount of rainfall seen during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon but remained a slow-moving destructive storm.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

Griffin said she was jolted awake when the power went off at the hotel as some of the storm's strongest bands lashed Wilmington with wind and rain. "So I had to find a place to go". More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than three-quarters of a million homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend. Officials are predicting that potentially 2.5 million customers could be without power as the storm continues on.

At least 280,000 people are without power in North Carolina and SC.

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The water was as high as street signs, and "we have no way to get to them", Dunn told ABC News Friday morning.

"We're in God's hands", said Rick Foreman, pastor at West Lumberton Baptist Church, as the Lumber River steadily rose Friday and local residents filled sandbags. "I haven't left for any of them over the years", he said. We got thrown into mailboxes. "You rock! We couldn't have done it without you!" the city tweeted on Saturday. "I don't know how long it's going to be before the water actually starts to come into the apartment".

"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, N.C.; people from Jacksonville, N.C., had to rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save people in towns north of Wilmington where high floods have already hit. Volunteers are using private boats to pitch in and help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said. "That rain and that flooding equals danger".

New Bern has been hit hard.

"It's like a bomb has gone off", Zaytoun told "Good Morning America" Friday.

Hurricane Florence has killed a mother and child in North Carolina.

Five to 10 inches of rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding in North Carolina, South Carolina, and southwest Virginia. He says that "over the years the state government and the federal government have become very coordinated in their ability to manage the pre-deployment of assets (and) the response to the citizens of those states, and we will soon be into the recovery". "I made sure ahead of time that we had adequate space for anybody that wanted to try that".

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.

More than 1,300 flights for Friday had been canceled along the East Coast.

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